A teen witness testified Tuesday that KateLynn Kenfield, 15, of Kennewick, discussed her alleged role in an abduction while the two were in juvenile detention together.
The former inmate was in a pod at the detention center with Kenfield when the teen girl began describing details of the night Hazel Abel, 87, was taken from her Kennewick home, according to testimony.
Kenfield is charged with kidnapping Abel. The elderly woman was forced into the trunk of her own car and driven to Multnomah County, Ore., where she escaped uninjured at a Walmart store.
The witness, who the Herald is not naming because she is a juvenile, testified that the conversation with Kenfield took place this past week. The girls had formed a friendship while in custody.
Kenfield said she waited had on the side of Abel’s home while Abel was subdued and stashed in the trunk, the witness testified.
Kenfield admitted to walking through Abel’s home and watching to make sure the woman didn’t escape from the trunk as the car left the scene, the witness testified.
“(Kenfield) told me she made sure she didn’t leave fingerprints for forensics,” the witness testified.
The girl recently notified a counselor at the juvenile detention center about the conversation after Kenfield hatched a plan to lie to the counselor about being abused in order to try to get leniency at trial, according to testimony.
Tuesday marked the second day of Kenfield’s trial for first-degree kidnapping, residential burglary and vehicle theft. She is charged as a juvenile. Judge Cameron Mitchell will deliver a verdict in the case.
Martin is Abel’s great-grandson, and Underwood was dating Kenfield at the time of the abduction. Law enforcement officials said the boys discussed ways to kill Abel and burn the car following the kidnapping.
Defense attorneys for Kenfield claim she did not know that there was a plan to kidnap Abel, and the group went to the house to get a car in an attempt to run away.
Prosecutors tried to disprove the defense’s theory by calling a detective from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office to the stand.
Detective Rian Hakala, who interviewed Kenfield shortly after her November arrest, testified she admitted she knew about a plan to knock Abel out and take the car, and that the elderly woman was in the trunk when the suspects drove off.
However, detectives questioned whether Kenfield helped plan the actual abduction, Hakala said.
“Nothing led me to believe she was the mastermind,” he testified.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Scott Johnson pointed out that Kenfield told investigators during her interview that she apparently didn’t know about the plan, felt threatened to leave the situation and didn’t know Abel was in the trunk until the car was moving.
After two days of calling witnesses, prosecutors rested their case late Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson then asked Mitchell to dismiss the kidnapping charge against Kenfield based on a lack of evidence that his client knew about or participated in the kidnapping.
“All that she knew was that there was going to be an attempt to get a car,” Johnson argued.
Mitchell ruled against Johnson’s motion to dismiss, saying there was testimony that Kenfield may have known the abduction was taking place.
The defense called one witness before asking for the trial to be resumed Wednesday morning.