June 19, 2024


Unlimited Technology

State presents computer, phone data from Kayla Giles

Testimony on Friday morning in Kayla Giles’ second-degree murder trial centered around data retrieved from her cellphone and laptop computer, including one that read, “I may make the news.”

Giles is accused of shooting her estranged husband, Thomas Coutee Jr., on Sept. 8, 2018, outside the Walmart on Coliseum Boulevard in Alexandria. She claims she was defending herself.

The state put two witnesses on the stand, both law enforcement officers who specialize in retrieving data from electronic devices.

The first was Detective Curtis Gunter, a cyber forensics examiner from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. He told Louisiana Assistant Attorney General Brooke Harris that he was asked to pull data from Giles Macbook Pro laptop.

Testimony on Friday morning in Kayla Giles' second-degree murder trial centered around data retrieved from her cellphone and laptop computer, including one that read, "I may make the news." Giles is accused of killing her husband, Thomas Coutee Jr., outside the Coliseum Boulevard Walmart on Sept. 8, 2018.

Testimony on Friday morning in Kayla Giles’ second-degree murder trial centered around data retrieved from her cellphone and laptop computer, including one that read, “I may make the news.” Giles is accused of killing her husband, Thomas Coutee Jr., outside the Coliseum Boulevard Walmart on Sept. 8, 2018.

Trial day four coverage: Friend testifies Kayla Giles told her she wanted to kill husband, asked to borrow gun

More day four testimony: Forensic pathologist testifies Thomas Coutee Jr. died from single gunshot wound

He testified that it was difficult to get to the data because, around the time it was given to him, Apple changed how it encrypted data, so he couldn’t access all of the information on it.

But, about a year or so later, his technology caught up to Apple’s, and he was successful, he testified. The amount of data points retrieved almost doubled, he said.

Harris introduced multiple documents and information pulled off the Mac, including a court document of an intention to move and take a child with her and contact information for the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA).

Harris also directed Gunter to read from information found on the computer that appeared to have been deleted or seen online and not saved four days before. Someone had pulled up information on the Louisiana statutes on use of force and justifiable homicide.

“Is this the stand your ground law?” Harris asked Gunter, and he replied that it was.

Harris also introduced logs of iMessages from the computer to a 214 area code number, which is the Dallas, Texas, area. She asked Gunter to read them aloud.

“I may make the news,” read one from Giles’ email to the number.

“Make sure to send me the link. Lol,” read the reply.

Another message from the Giles email joked that the person might be starting a GoFundMe account for her bail.

Giles’ defense attorney, George Higgins III, asked Gunter whether Giles designed that encryption. He said no.

He also asked if he learned who the person with the 214 area code was, and Gunter said no.

Trial day three coverage: Giles’ oldest daughter testifies in court after jurors see her 2018 video interview

When Higgins asked Gunter if there was a lot of stuff on the computer related to the custody case, Gunter said he didn’t know since it wasn’t his case. He said he only had been asked to pull the information and generate some reports at the direction of its lead detective from the Alexandria Police Department, William Butler.

Higgins asked if Gunter knew who had control over Giles’ computer on those dates, and if he knew who performed those searches. Gunter said he didn’t know about either of those.

Then Higgins showed Gunter some screenshots of other materials pulled off the computer and her cellphone. One was a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder from an Oklahoma VA hospital, while another was a certificate from a training class in Dallas.

Higgins also introduced a screenshot of a text message exchange between Giles and a woman apparently renting the Pineville home where Giles and Coutee once lived. The woman told Giles that a man in a “big black truck” had been parked by the mailbox.

Another screenshot introduced was a concealed carry license from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety issued in August 2016.

And he introduced a copy of an email from Coutee to Giles in which he apologized for being a bad husband and for his “anger problem.”

When Louisiana Assistant Attorney General Joseph LeBeau redirected Gunter, he asked if Giles’ computer was password protected, and he said yes.

LeBeau asked if the email mentioned any violence, and Gunter replied no.

“Kinda sounds like a husband trying to save his marriage?”

“Could be,” said Gunter.

He also asked the detective if the text exchange about the truck by the mailbox included any mention of a white Chevrolet pickup, which is what Coutee drove. It did not, said Gunter.

Next to testify was Sgt. Doug Alford, an Alexandria Police Department forensic examiner. He extracted information from Giles’ cellphone, he testified, although it took about a year and a half before Giles provided its passcode through Higgins.

Harris asked him if he retrieved some things that had been deleted, and he said he did.

She introduced some messages between Coutee and Giles in which Coutee asked what their daughter was doing. Giles rebuffed him, telling him that unless she told him otherwise, the girl was fine.

Coutee sent another text, telling her how he enjoyed spending time with her and that he was interested in checking out the school where Giles wanted to place the girl. In another, he again asks about the girl.

Giles sent back a text, telling him again not to contact her. She instead tells him her boyfriend does want to talk to him and that he should contact him. She threatened to block his number while their daughter was with her.

Harris introduced a text exchange between the couple on the morning of the shooting.

Giles told Coutee to give her 30 minutes so she could get her other two daughters dressed before meeting at Walmart. Coutee simply replied, “K.”

Then Giles texted, “Headed there now.”

But Coutee had sought to meet somewhere else, one exchange showed. Harris asked Alford to read a text from Coutee in which he asked to meet in the department’s parking lot, in an area specifically for child swaps and online sales transactions.

Call logs from the phone also were entered into evidence. Harris showed one to Alford, which she asked him to read aloud.

It showed that, on the day of the shooting, a call from Giles’ phone lasting 13 seconds was made to 911 at 11:14 a.m.

Then, a 3 minute and 2 second call was placed at 11:20 a.m. to the insurance company from which she had purchased a policy to cover legal fees in the event of a shooting.

More texts from the phone were entered, including some to Giles’ sister, Jessica Giles. In one from Sept. 7, 2018, Giles tells her sister not to forget her flower bag and that she’ll get it after dropping off the girls.

Another exchange from Giles’ phone to a woman discusses Coutee’s black eye.

Then, Harris asked Alford to read from some searches made on Giles’ phone on Safari, Apple’s web browser.

The searches, some deleted, were for USCCA, concealed carry insurance, Ruger guns, “arrested after self defense,” “self defense inside car” and more.

Court recessed after noon for lunch, and presiding 9th Judicial District Court Judge Greg Beard told jurors that the case would continue into Saturday.

This article originally appeared on Alexandria Town Talk: State offers data from Kayla Giles’ computer, cellphone in trial

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