Alabama Man Charged With Murdering Girlfriend

ANN ARBOR, MI -- For nine years, Demetrius D. Montgomery abused his on-again, off-again girlfriend and eventually stabbed her to death, prosecutors say.

Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor John Vella outlined a long history of abuse endured by Latisha Bargaineer, 29, whose body police found in 39-year-old Montgomery’s Ford Flex parked outside his cousin’s Detroit home on June 18, 2017.

Vella, at Montgomery’s murder trial that began Monday, May 13, said Montgomery stabbed Bargaineer up to 17 times in a Ypsilanti apartment, showered her and then changed the clothes on her bloodied body before moving it to Detroit and fleeing in his cousin’s GMC Yukon, which police later found abandoned in Ypsilanti.

On the run, Montgomery made his way to Alabama where police stopped the vehicle he was riding in for an unrelated traffic violation about a week later, the prosecution said. Montgomery then ran from police on foot in a Detroit Lions jersey before being stunned with a Taser and arrested, according to Vella.

Stabbing victim's body was cleaned before being driven to Detroit, experts say

Expert witnesses testified in court Tuesday that the body of Latisha Bargaineer, who was found dead in the back of a car in Detroit almost a year ago, appeared to have been washed before being transported away from the Ypsilanti crime scene and abandoned.

Among the accounts of abuse and intimidation Vella shared in court: Bargaineer once jumped naked from a two-story residence to escape a beating, Montgomery previously burned off Bargaineer’s prized fake eyelashes with a cigarette lighter and smashed her in the face with a frying pan.

"Despite the assaults, this woman loved him ... " Vella said. “That’s ultimately what led to her death.”

Vella said another of Montgomery’s ex-girlfriends will also testify that he abused her, once punching her so hard that her teeth were dislodged and another time holding down and raping her.

Montgomery’s attorney, Dionne Webster-Cox, alluded in her opening statement that the killing was committed by three unidentified suspects seeking retribution, possibly for a theft committed by Bargaineer or because they were unhappy with a drug purchase from Montgomery.

“No one followed up on this to see, could this possibly be true,” Webster-Cox said.

Detroit man charged in death of Ypsilanti girlfriend appears in court

Demetrius Montgomery appeared in district court for a probable cause conference.

Investigators found three knives at the scene, including two with handles that had broken off. Vella theorized the knives broke when Montgomery stabbed his girlfriend in the skull.

There were no fingerprints or DNA linking Montgomery to the knives, Webster-Cox argued.

Additionally, she said detectives couldn’t link any shoes owned by Montgomery to a shoe print left in blood at the scene.

Vella told the jury they will read hundreds of threatening text messages Montgomery sent to Bargaineer the day prior to her death, including one that read, ""RIP, b**ch," and another, “B**ch, I’m God. I wish somebody [sic] kill you.”

Montgormery, dressed in a bright white shirt and black pants, nodded in approval or shook his in disagreement as the opposing attorneys outlined the basis for their cases.

He is charged with open murder and faces up to life in prison.

Presiding Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Judge David S. Swartz said he expects the trial to conclude by Friday, May 17.

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Woman found fatally stabbed in Detroit tied to Ypsilanti crime scene

Those with information regarding this death are asked to contact Ypsilanti police Lt. Deric Gress at 734-482-9847, call Detroit police at 313-596-2260 or 313-596-1616, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAKUP (773-2587).

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