With every piece of evidence that a homicide detective revealed to a Port Jefferson Station man being questioned in a killing, the man conceded he did more things to a Medford woman found on fire and mutilated in Connecticut, the detective testified Tuesday.
But Det. Phillip Frendo testified that when he told Evans Ganthier, 33, that Rebecca Koster, 24, had been stabbed to death in December 2009, Ganthier denied doing that.
Frendo testified before State Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro at Ganthier's trial on a second-degree murder charge.
"Why would I stab her?" Ganthier told him, Frendo testified. "We were only hanging out."
Ganthier told him he picked up Koster at her house about 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 4 after meeting her earlier that night at a Holbrook bar, Frendo testified. On the way to his house, she started gagging and then she tripped over dumbbells in his garage and hit her head, Frendo testified Ganthier told him. Ganthier then said he was taking her to the nearby John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, but she died in the car, so he turned around, Frendo testified.
Frendo asked why Ganthier didn't continue to the hospital, and Ganthier replied that it would "look bad if a black man drove up to the hospital with a dead white woman." Ganthier said he panicked, took her body to Connecticut and cut off her fingers, toes, ears, nose and tattoos, Frendo testified.
Because the Connecticut medical examiner's office had not yet determined how Koster had died, Frendo testified the charges against Ganthier were withdrawn Dec. 15, 2009, and he was released. But after the office determined she died of a stab wound to her liver, Frendo testified Ganthier was arrested again Feb. 8, 2010. Frendo testified Ganthier told him the same story until he told Ganthier about the stab wound.
"He squinted his eyes and said, 'Don't say that,' " Frendo testified. Then Ganthier said he couldn't have stabbed her because he's righthanded and he "doesn't even know where the liver is," Frendo testified.
Ganthier suggested asking Koster's parents if she'd had a stab wound to her liver for some time, "like it was some kind of condition," Frendo testified.
Ganthier then said he was "not a knife kind of person," Frendo testified. "I said, 'But you used a knife to cut off pieces of her body.' "
Ganthier got upset and said he did that only to hide her identity, Frendo testified.
Frendo's testimony continues Wednesday.