Prosecutor Lists Foley Slaying Motives He Says Kathleen’s Extramarital Affair, Husband’s Control Led Her To Kill Joe. Lehigh County — (The Morning Call)

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The Morning Call

by JOE MCDERMOTT, The Morning Call

September 12, 2000

Kathleen Foley’s lover told police investigators she was pregnant with his child, a Lehigh County judge was told Monday.

The details of George Fleming’s statement will likely be revealed later this week when Kathleen Foley goes on trial for allegedly shooting her husband, Joe Foley, to death in their Fountain Hill home.

Fleming’s comment was part of pretrial motions heard Monday by Judge Alan Black, who will preside over the homicide trial that starts today after jury selection is completed. The trial could last for a month, attorneys for both sides said.

Black rejected Assistant District Attorney Michael McIntyre’s request to arrest and detain Fleming until he could testify. McIntyre portrayed Fleming as a hostile witness unlikely to appear if ordered.

The judge did agree to send a county detective to bring Fleming in for a pretrial hearing Monday afternoon, at which he agreed to testify Wednesday morning.

Investigators say Kathleen Foley’s relationship with Fleming, who worked with both Foleys at Allentown State Hospital, and anger at her husband’s controlling nature led her to kill him.

Prosecutors say that Joe Foley, known for his work with Irish children’s causes, kept a strict eye on his wife’s spending and social habits after she ran up the couple’s charges with cash withdrawals in 1991 to finance a cocaine habit.

“That control made the defendant not only want to leave him, but it was the motive for murder,” McIntyre said.

Foley was found dead in the bedroom of his Moravia Street home on July 31, 1998. Kathleen Foley was arrested in October 1999 and charged with the crime, but she has maintained her husband was the victim of a burglar.

Prosecutors say Foley was shot with his own gun.

That gun remains missing. Kathleen Foley has said her husband sold the weapon several years before the shooting. She also said she was asleep in an adjoining room with an air conditioner and radio on and she did not hear gunshots.

In 1997 Joe Foley found marijuana and Prozac, a prescription drug for depression, in his wife’s purse, McIntyre said.

For the last six weeks of Joe Foley’s life, Kathleen Foley deposited her paycheck in her own account but had to write a check to her husband for almost the full amount so that he could oversee her spending, the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney Brian Collins said there were no drugs found in the Foley home after the murder and no evidence of an argument between the couple that night.

Collins said allowing testimony and evidence of drug use could prejudice the jury against his client.

“There is a high possibility they could convict her because of her bad behavior, because she used drugs,” Collins said.

Jurors will hear of the relationship, but McIntyre must demonstrate how Fleming knew of the pregnancy before he can mention it in his opening argument, Black ruled.

McIntyre would not elaborate afterward on Fleming’s statement and Collins downplayed it as legal maneuvering.

“Number one, it’s vague and unsubstantiated,” Collins said after jury selection recessed for the day. “Number two, we should wait till he’s on the stand to see what he says.”

Black approved Collins’ request to prohibit testimony from a friend of Fleming’s who supposedly would have said Fleming made incriminating comments about the murder.

Collins said he did not learn of the pending testimony until late last week.

“You can’t wait till a week before a homicide trial to turn over a witness, particularly when it raises a new issue,” Black chastised McIntyre and the prosecution team.

McIntyre said that until Sept. 1 the man was part of the ongoing investigation. Authorities were trying to get the man to wear a wire to get further statements from Fleming on tape, McIntyre said.

Contact Joe McDermott,  610-861-3614  joe.mcdermott@mcall.com