Daughter Of Murder Victim Heard Leslie Say To Her Mother, "I'll Kill You"

  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Kameron Leslie
Kameron Leslie

Chief homicide prosecutor Michael Dowd told a Criminal Court jury on Tuesday that Kameron Leslie is guilty of "the brutal strangulation of a helpless woman" in the Jan. 11, 2019, murder of Taja Whiteside.

The body of Ms. Whiteside, 30, was discovered by her oldest son at their residence in the 5800 block of Moody Sawyer Road. Prosecutors said there would be 20 witnesses, including the three children of Ms. Whiteside.

Leslie, who is representing himself with an attorney as "elbow counsel," told the jury that he last saw Ms. Whiteside on Jan. 10, 2019, and only learned later that she had been killed.

Leslie said Jan. 10 he and Ms. Whiteside had a day at home with "the kids," went to Walmart for groceries and made dinner, watched television after dinner, and then she accused him of talking to girls on Instagram during his smoke break. He packed his red duffel bag and left. He said he looked for her in the house before he left, called and texted her, but she did not respond.

He said Ms. Whiteside's car that he drove to Florida was not "stolen."

Leslie went on the TBI's Most Wanted List and was finally located in Jacksonville, Fla., almost four months after the killing.

Prosecutor Dowd said when the first officer on the scene found Ms. Whiteside she was crumpled on the floor of her bedroom with her head pushed into a pillow. He said she had been dead several hours.

The prosecutor said the son got up that morning and was surprised that his mother had not awakened him since it was a school day. He said he found his mother's bedroom door was locked. He made himself breakfast, then got into the room by jimmying it with a credit card. He said he could not awaken her, so he called 911.

Prosecutor Dowd said the victim's daughter was awakened that night by bumping and crashing. She said she heard Leslie say, "I'll kill you," and then there were more noises. She said she then heard the bedroom door open and close and then there was the sound of someone starting a car and driving off. The daughter then went back to sleep without checking on the mother.

He said Leslie lived at the residence, but he removed all his personal items before leaving town.

Prosecutor Dowd said evidence from cell phone towers showed Dowd at the Whiteside residence at 4 a.m. - around the time of the murder. He was then traced to Highway 153 near an overpass. Investigators went to that location and found items belonging to Leslie that had been discarded. They included his work ID badge.

After Leslie was apprehended in Florida following a tip to law enforcement, the car belonging to Ms. Whiteside was found in Jacksonville in an abandoned parking garage.

The prosecutor said the medical examiner will testify that Ms. Whiteside had been manually strangled to death. He said she was battered and her eyes were swollen.

He said the DNA of both Ms. Whiteside and Leslie was found on a condom in the bedroom floor, and she had his DNA under her fingernails, indicating that she had scratched him.

Judge Amanda Dunn is presiding over the case.

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