Comstock trial day two: Former secretary takes the stand (MO)

(Springfield, MO) — A second full day of testimony is underway at the Greene County Courthouse where the adopted daughter of Rolland Comstock is suing her own mother.

Faith Stocker believes her mother, Alberta Comstock, is responsible for the shooting death of Rolland Comstock in 2007.

On Wednesday, a former secretary to Comstock said she was involved in creating a trust with her former boss and it excluded Alberta Comstock from receiving any of his assets.

Becky Frakes told the court Comstock described Alberta as “screaming for revenge,” and added he believed she would try to ruin him.

“He said that she wished, she probably wished she’d drop dead of a heart attack,” said Frakes.

“He didn’t say she said that he said she probably thought it,” responded the attorney.

“Right,” agreed Frakes.

“That’s a far cry from killing somebody isn’t it?” asked the attorney.

“Yes,” replied Frakes.

Frakes also described money kept in a kitchen drawer at the Comstock home and how she first learned that her employer was conflicted over his sexuality.

Comstock’s divorce attorney also took the stand Wednesday for a time, as well as a Greene County lieutenant.

The defense also focused a good portion of the afternoon talking to a gunsmith with a shop in Oklahoma.

That gunsmith, Mike Friend, said that he saw Alberta on July 2. She bought a gun and said she planned to go shooting and gestured toward Missouri. He also said he saw her turn toward Missouri.

Alberta has claimed she was in Oklahoma at that time.

Aside from that, questioning focused on the caliber of the gun — a .38 — the same as the bullets used in the murder.

Later in the afternoon, a gas station employee also testified about possibly seeing Alberta or her vehicle around the time of the murder in Monett. This is important in pinpointing where Alberta was in that time.

The defense worked to point out discrepancies in these accounts. It also highlighted that the gun may have been difficult for Alberta Comstock to handle.

“She wasn’t physically strong enough with one hand and with one finger on the trigger to pull it,” said Friend.

A Greene County lieutenant also talked about the investigation.

Comstock’s divorce lawyer also took the stand for a time.

No criminal charges have been filed in this case.

Comstock Trial Day One: Ex-Wife, Detective Take Stand

Kevin Schwaller (@KevinSchwaller) was in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon.


Comstock Trial Day Two: Former Secretary Takes The Stand
Kevin Schwaller
June 29, 2011

Additional coverage:

Comstock Trial Day One: Ex-Wife, Detective Take Stand
Brian Richardson
June 28, 2011

(Springfield, MO) — Day one of testimony in the Rolland Comstock wrongful death civil trial has wrapped up.

Deputies found the former prominent Springfield lawyer dead in his Greene County home in July 2007. Prosecutors have never filed criminal charges.

Rolland’s daughter, Faith Stocker, says her father’s ex-wife Alberta was his murderer. She was the first witness to take the stand Tuesday.

Testimony moved slower than expected. However, attorneys were quick to establish a motive.

Stuart King, Stocker’s attorney, says Alberta was out to harm Rolland. He says she was upset because of Rolland’s changing sexuality, which she says ultimately led to their divorce.

King questioned Alberta’s story about what happened the night Comstock was shot.
Alberta claimed she was at her Oklahoma home. King says people claimed to have seen her truck in Missouri that July night.

Alberta’s lawyer, Evelyn Mangan, says Alberta was open with investigators. She was also quick to point out there was no evidence — including DNA — putting Alberta in Rolland’s home.

Another point of contention is the murder weapon.

Whoever killed Comstock used .38 bullets. Alberta had a gun that was capable of firing those rounds.

“The 38 caliber is now misisng and is one of the guns that could have killed Rolland,” says King.

“No one we’ve been able to find knows. I assure you Alberta would like to know where that gun is.” says Mangan.

Attorneys agreed there might be multiple types of guns that could fire that bullet.

Stocker did say she and Alberta had a bit of a falling out.

The former detective who was the lead in this case was the man on the stand for most of the day.

Frank Duren testified deputies found a briefcase belonging to Alberta on Rolland’s couch. The two hadn’t lived together for years.

“Recovered a red coach bag, holster, book with zipper and a Fed-Ex envelope,” he said.

Duren said there were bloody footprints throughout the house. However, it appeared they all belonged to Rolland Comstock.

The defense brought up that robbery often plays a role in murders. There was a large amount of cash missing in Rolland’s home.

There was quite a bit of forensic evidence presented Tuesday, including gun residue tests on Alberta.

Those came back negative.

The plaintiff expects to call Alberta to the stand, but wouldn’t tell KOLR/KSFX when that would be.

The trial’s expected to last all week.

Brian Richardson was in the courtroom Monday.  Click here for his Twitter timeline, and be sure to follow at @BrianJRich or @kolr10ksfsnews.