Suspect tells of victim’s final moments in recording at murder trial

Posted at 3:18 PM, Nov 05, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The  courtroom heard a recording Thursday of the woman accused of killing Janna Kelly in 2007, telling detectives what happened in the moments leading up to Kelly's death.

Robin Root is on trial for the murder of Kelly in December of 2007.  She was arrested earlier this year in the cold case. DNA evidence collected in 2007 implicated Root, but Grand Rapids Police didn't submit the evidence to the state crime lab.  Ottawa County detectives found the evidence in 2014 and filed the charges against Root. In the video that was recorded during interview between detectives and Root earlier this year, Root asks them, "If you had all this" on me, "why didn't you charge me eight years ago?"

Later in the recording, Root told detectives that Kelly was upset that Root didn't have "back rent" money that Root owed to Kelly.  Kelly had been Root's landlord.  Root said she pushed Kelly down and "she didn't get up."  She then duct taped Kelly's mouth shut and dragged her to her car and put Kelly in the trunk.  The next day, Root said she looked in on Kelly and she was "not awake."  A detective in the video then told Root that he thought that Kelly died of asphyxiation from the duct tape.

Kelly's body was found in March of 2008 in Ottawa County.

The prosecution rested its case late Thursday afternoon.  The defense made a short case and then also rested its case.  The jury will deliberate and will likely issue a ruling on Friday.