Man testifies he did not kill his pregnant fiancee

Published 12:16 am Friday, October 9, 2009

A man involved in a deadly love triangle testified he had no emotional attachment to the woman accused of killing his pregnant fiancee in 2006.

Keyon Pittman, who now lives in a different state and has been married since 2007 to a woman from Detroit, testified for the prosecution in the capital murder trial of 28-year-old Carla Hughes.

Hughes is accused in the stabbing and shooting death of 27-year-old Avis Banks, who was five months’ pregnant. The baby also died in the attack outside the Ridgeland home shared by Banks and Pittman.

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Prosecutors say Hughes killed Banks because she wanted Pittman for herself. Hughes says she’s innocent.

Pittman, 34, told jurors Tuesday he did not kill Banks.

“I did not harm her (Avis) in any way whatsoever,” he said at one point.

He is still grieving over Banks and their unborn child.

Pittman and Hughes met while both were teachers at Chastain Middle School in Jackson.

He said Banks trusted him and never questioned him. All she did was go to work and come home, he said.

When asked by Madison Assistant District Attorney John Emfinger if he killed Banks, Pittman emphatically said “no.”

But when asked by Emfinger if he feels responsible for the deaths of Banks and his unborn child, he said “yes.”

“I made bad mistakes by sleeping around and flirting with other women,” Pittman said.

Pittman said he was in a fast-paced, sexual relationship with Hughes, including having sex two or three times a week. He said Hughes had been to the home he and Banks shared when Banks wasn’t there.

“You lied to Avis every day,” Hughes’ defense attorney, Johnnie Walls, told Pittman on cross-examination.

He and Hughes also were exchanging text messages or communicating every day, Pittman said. But Pittman said there was no emotional attachment to Hughes.

“I didn’t say I was making love with her,” Pittman said. “I said I had sex with her.”

But under cross-examination, Pittman admitted he gave Hughes the impression that she was special to him.

Pittman said at one point Hughes told him she was pregnant and wanted him to leave Banks. But he said a doctor told Hughes a birth control device was causing her problems.

Pittman also said on the stand that he called Hughes and another woman the night he discovered Banks’ body. He said he was upset and needed consolation.

The main evidence against Hughes is the .38-caliber revolver used to shoot Banks. A relative gave Hughes the gun for protection about a week before Banks was killed.

Prosecutors say cell phone records indicate Hughes made calls within a quarter-mile area from Banks’ home the night she was killed.

Also, blood splatter was found on a pair of shoes taken from Hughes’ closet. The blood came from Banks, prosecutors said. But Walls told the court Pittman had borrowed those shoes from Hughes.