116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The girlfriend of a Cedar Rapids man who was fatally stabbed March 4, 2020, wouldn’t tell a police investigator how or why it happened until the last half-hour of a two-hour interview.
Jacqueline Holmes, 38, who is trial this week for first-degree murder in Linn County District Court, continued to say in the video-recorded interview that she didn’t know how her boyfriend, Tremaine Williams, 35, had been stabbed.
At one point, she said he may have been shot.
Holmes’ trial started last Tuesday and is expected to wrap up Wednesday. The prosecution will likely rest Tuesday and the defense will start its case.
Holmes told police she was making a seafood boil that night and that Williams and others were playing cards at the house of Phillip Rogers, her brother-in-law’s brother.
Holmes said everyone left, and only she, Williams and Rogers were in the home when Williams was hurt. Rogers went to bed.
Holmes told Cedar Rapids police Investigator Matt Denlinger that she and Williams had been staying with Rogers at his home in southwest Cedar Rapids for a week or so.
Denlinger repeatedly asked Holmes how Williams had been stabbed. He told her at the beginning of the interview that Williams was seriously hurt and in the hospital.
Holmes said she was doing dishes and Williams just started bleeding. She thought he fell. Blood was on his shirt, but she didn’t know where the blood was coming from and he didn’t say anything. He was having difficulty breathing, and she called 911 around 4 a.m.
Denlinger asked how Williams started bleeding, but Holmes said she didn’t know because he was in the “back,” and she was in the kitchen doing dishes. He asked her to be honest and told her he knew there are two sides to every story.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Holmes said during the interview.
“Did he hit you? … Yell at you or was he with another girl,” Denlinger asked.
Holmes denied Williams was cheating. She again denied hurting him and then said he was shot.
Denlinger finally told her that Williams had died from a stab wound.
Holmes suggested Williams had stabbed himself.
Denlinger asked her to explain this because “we’re going to assume you’re a cold-blooded killer.”
Holmes said she wasn’t.
‘Going to kill me’
Denlinger left for a few minutes and came back. Holmes then started talking about how some men are “mean” and said she never meant to hurt Williams. She said she was scared. She didn’t understand how men could continue to do the “same thing over and over.” Williams, she said, had a “control” issue and had told her he was beaten as a child.
Holmes said Williams “snapped” that night. He said hurtful things and choked her and threw her to the floor.
Denlinger asked if that happened that day, but she didn’t answer. She then said Williams had kicked and punched her in the head and legs that day. She said Williams had said he “was going to kill me.”
A few minutes later, Holmes again denied stabbing Williams.
“You realize this makes no sense,” Denlinger said, adding he didn’t believe her. He said he thought she may have had a traumatic event.
Holmes said she wasn’t lying.
The remainder of the video interview will be played Tuesday when the trial resumes.
In earlier testimony, Brandon Boesenberg, a crime scene investigator, testified about evidence found at Rogers’ house, where Williams was stabbed. Williams’ blood was found in the bedroom and on the walls and carpet.
Holmes’ blood was found in the bathroom, areas of the floor, side of a refrigerator and kitchen floor. She had a cut on one of her fingers, Boesenberg said.
A knife with a wooden handle was found in the oven and tested positive for blood that matched Williams’ DNA, Boesenberg said. Holmes’ DNA was found on the handle of the knife. The knife was consistent with the stabbing injury and was likely the murder weapon, Boesenberg said.
On cross-examination, Tyler Johnston, one of Holmes’ lawyers, questioned why police didn’t test the black-handled knife also found in the stove before June 29, 2020, when it was submitted to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation lab.
Boesenberg said they can send in so many items to the Division of Criminal Investigation lab and that someone else in the department chose not to immediately test the black-handled knife.
That knife also had Holmes’ blood on the handle, Johnston said.
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