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HUNTSVILLE -- The attorney for a Rogers man charged with capital murder said another man actually committed the crime.

"I'm going to tell this jury panel Daniel Phillips committed this murder," Drew Ledbetter said while interviewing a potential juror Monday in Madison County Circuit Court. "I just want you to know the facts that are coming."

Ledbetter is the attorney for Cody Wade Wise, who is charged in the 2015 shooting death of Ronald Lee Kultgen Sr. of Garfield.

Wise pleaded innocent.

His trial was to begin Monday, but jury selection took most of the day. The trial is expected to continue through Thursday.

Kultgen, 53, had been missing for about four months when his body was found Aug. 29, 2015, in a rural area near Clifty in Madison County.

Witnesses said they saw Kultgen getting into a car with Wise, then 27, and Chasity Humphries on April 15, 2015, according to an affidavit from Hunter Petray, a detective with the Benton County sheriff's office.

"One of the witnesses stated that shortly after Ronald left in the vehicle, she received an incoming call from him on Cody Wise's cell phone number," according to the affidavit. "That witness stated that this was approximately 3:15 a.m. and that Ronald told her to get out of the house, and that things were going to get hot."

Wise shot Kultgen in the head, causing his death, according to the criminal information. Wise's actions were premeditated and deliberate, according to the court document.

"During the course of this investigation, several witnesses have come forward to state that Cody Wise informed them directly that he had killed Ronald Kultgen," according to the affidavit. "Two of those witnesses stated that Cody Wise also informed them that he killed Ronald Kultgen with the help of Daniel Phillips and that the body was located on [Phillips] family land near Clifty. One of the witnesses stated that Cody told her that he and Daniel had both shot Ronald Kultgen."

Phillips wasn't charged in the case.

Phillips told police Wise arrived at his house at 6:30 a.m. April 15, 2015.

"When Daniel Phillips was interviewed, he stated that he refers to Cody Wise as his brother and that Cody and he grew up together in Madison County," Petray wrote.

A witness came forward and reported being present at the murder. The witness said one reason Wise killed Kultgen was that Wise believed Kultgen stole $2,000 from him, according to court documents.

Madison and Washington counties compose the state's 4th Judicial Circuit. Wise was a resident of Benton County, but police and prosecutors believe the homicide took place in Madison County.

State Desk on 09/25/2018

Print Headline: Defense in murder case says other man did crime

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