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The Daily News
By SCOTT DESMIT firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep 19, 2016
WARSAW — It was not long after the body of Desirae Withey was found on her bedroom floor that her one-time friend was taken to Perry Police Department for questioning.
Kira Kastenhuber was not the only person questioned Feb. 6, but she was, police knew, someone who had a grudge against Withey.
Kastenhuber was questioned for more than four hours that day and ended the interrogation only when she was asked to take a lie detector test.
“After a pause, the defendant said ‘Can I ask for a lawyer now, or no?’” according to transcripts of a judge’s decision on trial issues. “Spero (State police investigator John) responded, ‘Absolutely.’”
That wasn’t, however, the last time Kastenhuber was to be questioned in the horrific death of Withey, a single mother of two who was beaten, stabbed and strangled during the early-morning hours of Feb. 6.
Wyoming County Court Judge Michael Mohun on Thursday issued decisions on defense motions to suppress statements Kastenhuber made to police. Mohun ruled all statements, including vague statements of admission she made off-the-cuff, could be used against her at trial.
Kastenhuber is charged with second-degree murder, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child for killing Withey, 33.
Withey lived at 84 Borden Ave. with her two children, ages 6 and 2. The oldest child awakened that Saturday morning, finding her mother dead and running to a neighbor’s house for help. Police arrived about 9:30 a.m.
Kastenhuber was at a friend’s house on Hope Street, adjacent to where she had recently lived with her boyfriend, who was dating Withey at the time of her death.
Kastenhuber, 38, willingly went with police, waived her rights and answered questions calmly, Mohun’s written decision says.
“Except for one brief period of time when she became tearful while discussing recent events in her life, the defendant answered questions calmly and articulately,” Mohun, who viewed a video of the interview, wrote. “She did, however, complain that she felt anxious and extremely tired that day.”
Kastenhuber told police she had seven beers the night before and had not taken her anti-anxiety medication.
Once questioning was over, Kastenhuber was told she was not allowed to return to her friend’s house on Hope Street. Her sister picked her up and took her to her mother’s house in Rochester.
It was there that Rochester police were called to the next morning for a possible drug overdose.
Officer Andrea Bouffiou said she arrived at the house and found Kastenhuber sitting on an air mattress in the living room.
“The defendant rose and stumbled toward the door,” Mohun wrote. “The defendant told them that ‘she had taken some pills’ and pointed to several pills lying near the air mattress.”
Kastenhuber told the officer she was upset about ‘an incident that happened in Perry’ and that ‘she meant to leave a note for the Perry police.’
That note was a suicide note, allegedly written by Kastenhuber and one that read, in part, “I just became so enraged I couldn’t help myself so I killed her.”
“According to Bouffiou,” Mohun wrote, “the defendant watched her read the note and then said ‘something to the effect that I did it,’ after which her sister started to comfort her.”
State police arrested Kastenhuber following her release from Strong Memorial Hospital.
Another state police investigator testified that he overheard Kastenhuber “make a statement to a doctor regarding that several things that happened were all her fault,” Mohun wrote.
Mohun ruled that statement, along with others she made after she asked for a lawyer, were admissible at trial.
“Those statements were spontaneous and not the result of police interrogation,” he wrote. “Spontaneous utterances may be received into evidence, despite a prior request for counsel, upon a showing that they were in no way the product of an ‘interrogation environment,’ the result of ‘express questioning or its functional equivalent.’”
Mohun also ruled in favor of the prosecution regarding statements Kastenhuber allegedly made to a fellow inmate at Wyoming County Jail.
The inmate told police that Kastenhuber “made an admission.” The inmate identified Kastenhuber from an array of photographs. Mohun ruled the identification was proper.
Mohun ordered Kastenhuber to return to court Oct. 6. Her trial is scheduled for jury selection Jan. 11.
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Woman sentenced for killing former friend — (Democrat & Chronicle)
Published 11:13 ET Dec 2, 2016
A Wyoming County woman who killed a former friend dating her ex-boyfriend has been sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.
The Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office says 39-year-old Kira Kastenhuber was sentenced Thursday for the slaying of 33-year-old Desirae Withey earlier this year.
Prosecutors say Kastenhuber entered Withey’s home in the village of Perry early on the morning of Feb. 6 and strangled, beat and stabbed her former friend. The victim’s body was found by one of her children, who alerted a neighbor.
Kastenhuber was arrested at her mother’s home in Rochester, where Kastenhuber had overdosed and where police found a suicide note in which she admitted to the killing.
The two women were co-workers whose friendship ended when Withey began dating Kastenhuber’s ex-boyfriend.
Kastenhuber pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October.