Purchase photos

WaKeeney man faces first-degree murder charge

7/11/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

WaKEENEY -- Defense attorney Dan Walter wouldn't stand still for the minimalist approach prosecutors were taking in the preliminary hearing of a WaKeeney man charged with first-degree murder.

So he spent considerable time Thursday in Trego County District Court, seeking details on the circumstances surrounding the miscarriage of Naomi Abbott's 8-week-old fetus.

Her then "significant other" Scott Bollig, WaKeeney, has been charged with first-degree murder -- or in the alternative attempted first-degree murder -- in connection with the death of Abbott's unborn child. He's also charged with a felony count of aggravated battery and a misdemeanor count of distribution of adulterated food, identified in the criminal complaint as a pancake.

Prosecutors said the pancake was laced with an abortion drug, identified at Thursday's preliminary hearing as mifepristone, that had been purchased online.

The hearing, which started Thursday afternoon, is scheduled to continue today, and Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme said she had just one witness left.

Despite that, District Judge Glenn Braun called approximately 20 people, all of whom had been subpoenaed, back into the courtroom to remind them to return today.

Preliminary hearings typically are abbreviated versions of trials, and prosecutors only need to show a crime has been committed and there's reason to believe the person charged might be responsible.

Domme and Goodland-based Assistant Attorney General Nicole Romine took a minimalist approach to witness testimony. Domme even sought to limit Walter's cross-examination questioning of Kansas Bureau of Investigation Kevin Campbell and WaKeeney Police Chief Terry Eberle.

She was successful with Campbell, but didn't fare so well with Eberle, and Walter spent time asking questions about an initial interview and the purported confession the following day by Bollig.

Walter has filed a motion to suppress "incriminating statements" made by Bollig because he had been questioned without being given his Miranda warning.

He also tried, but wasn't successful, in trying to determine what took place on the evening of a Feb. 19 interview, when the alleged victim and another law enforcement officer convinced Bollig to confess to the crime.

Bollig apparently called Eberle the following day and admitted what had been done, at which time he was placed under arrest for first-degree murder. Eberle testified he had already been told Bollig would be coming in to confess.

Although Walter filed a motion to suppress the evidence, the matter wasn't taken up in court Thursday.

There was, however, a sealed envelope in the case file that was marked as a motion filed by prosecutors. A companion document detailed the state's motion to close file the motion under seal, and Walter didn't object.

Walter pursued details of the alleged confession, asking about audio or video recordings of either interview.

Neither was available, Eberle said, and he didn't take notes.

Instead, he said, Campbell took notes from the interviews and had them transcribed.

Much of the conversation mirrored details in the motion.

During questioning of Campbell, who identified the drug sprinkled on pancakes, Walter zeroed in testimony that just one of five blood and urine samples tested by the KBI laboratory in Great Bend were positive for the abortion drug.

Aside from Campbell and Eberle, three other witnesses were called, all of them involved in Abbott's medical care.

It was Dr. Doug Gruenbacher who talked of Abbott's "significant other," an identification used when Walter asked if he had ever met Bollig.

Gruenbacher said he noted Abbott had indicated the the father "was not supportive, that he didn't want her to be pregnant."

He said Abbott had indicated she was considering moving back to Montana to be closer to her family.

"She went out of her way to state that," Gruenbacher said. "It did make me concerned about her wellbeing."

As well, he said, she had previously suffered from depression.