A Missouri woman who helped investigators arrest a suspect in a triple murder is now married to the man she helped put behind bars.
Legal experts say this could cause problems in the high-profile case and the woman risks facing murder charges.
Under Missouri law, husbands and wives do not have to testify against one another. Prosecutors tried to get the woman's testimony on record before the marriage, but were unsuccessful.
Authorities haven't said whether they are pursuing the death penalty or not, a decision that usually takes months.
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On Sept. 8, a teen boy walked into his home in Kansas City, Missouri, and found his sister, Bianca Fletcher, 17, her friend, Shannon Rollins Jr., 18, as well as Fletcher's 1-year-old son, JoJo, shot to death.
Prosecutors say Joseph Nelson, who was Fletcher's ex-boyfriend and JoJo's father, entered into the home through an unlocked door. Nelson's then-girlfriend, Shellana Davis, told officers he had a firearm and ordered Rollins and Fletcher to sit down.
Fletcher and Nelson began arguing and Nelson opened fire, reports KCTV.
Less than two weeks later, Nelson was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and one count of burglary.
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Davis is now the main witness in the state's case against Nelson, who she married in December, reports KCTV.
With Nelson facing life in prison if convicted, he and Davis reportedly devised a plan. On Oct. 21, Nelson and Davis applied for a marriage license.
Prosecutors could lose their main witness if Davis refuses to testify and her police report could also be thrown out as evidence in the case.
A hearing to determine whether state could force Davis to give a videotaped testimony was set for Dec. 14, but by then the two had already wed.
"He probably read some article on spousal privilege saying this will save my ‘you know what,’ but it's not going to," Matthew O'Connor of O'Connor Law Firm told KCTV. O'Connor is a criminal attorney but is not involved in the case.
"I think that is a red herring, that’s a distraction, because even if they get married she can still be compelled to testify in many ways. There's a statute that involves a murder so the spousal privilege is not an be all, end all," he said.
The day after Nelson and Davis were married, prosecutors charged Davis with burglary and tampering with evidence in relation to the case.
If she pushes the spousal privilege, O'Connor believes those charges could be reversed.
"Didn't she conspire? Didn't she go along with it? Didn't she help cover it up? There's your answer. Charge her with murder," said O’Connor.