A jail informant and technology linked Nelson Armas to the 2016 killing of Hannah Brim, who disappeared that January, as his trial on first-degree murder charges continued Thursday.
The informant testified that Armas asked him to fetch a knife from a location when he got out, and the man said his wife would get it. Instead, the informant told police, who found the knife at an abandoned home in the LaCrosse area. It is suspected of being the weapon used to kill Brim.
“The first map he gave me initially — that was the wrong location. I told him my wife looked for it and that wasn’t the location,” the informant said, adding that he got a second map from Armas.
Police testified they found a knife at the second location. It was a folding knife with a blade about four inches long, according to pictures shown in the courtroom.
Meanwhile, a collection of cellphone records show that Brim’s phone was used in Orange Heights in the vicinity of the home where Armas was living with his mother after Brim was last heard from.
And surveillance video from the Walmart off Waldo Road allegedly shows Armas pulling into the parking lot in Brim’s car days after her disappearance. Video also shows Armas entering the store and walking around with two friends he met inside.
One of the friends, Stacie Hanna, testified that Armas was awkward and distracted in Walmart and at her home afterward.
“He was acting a little off-put. He said he was going through rough times…,” Hanna said, adding under cross-examination that Armas “was a little awkward, not so much involved in conversation. There was not much participation. There was distraction — he was on his phone.”
Authorities allege Armas, 31, killed Brim because she threatened to tell Armas’ wife about their sexual relationship. They homed in on Armas as a suspect because his statements didn’t jibe with evidence they were collecting.
Armas was indicted for her murder before Brim’s bones were found months later, confirming the death, off U.S. 301 in the Orange Heights area.
Armas is accused of burning evidence including Brim’s clothing and floor mats from her car in pits at his mother’s house, pieces of which were found in the pits by crime scene investigators, according to Wednesday testimony.
The informant testified Thursday that he overheard a phone conversation between Armas and his mother in which burn pits were discussed. Armas’ attorney, Bill Salmon, on cross-examination got the informant to say that he has been charged with multiple felonies in the past.
Authorities believe Armas killed Brim after an argument, then loaded her body in the trunk of her car and left it in a wooded area off U.S. 301 in Orange Heights, not far from his mother’s home. Brim’s bones were found in a creek there in September 2016.
Walmart surveillance footage shows Armas leaving Brim’s car in the Walmart parking lot the night of Jan. 19 and returning to retrieve it four days later, prosecutors allege.
The sedan ended up at a garage and was supposed to be sold for parts, then crushed. Before that could happen, a tow truck driver turned the car over to police, who searched it and found blood evidence in the trunk.
Armas is also charged with grand theft of Brim’s car and tampering with evidence.
But what can you do to stop snitches? Here’s a list of snitches with pictures and locations. Also read: Control of Information so you can stop snitching on yourself. Also: How to find out who’s a snitch and 10 Ways to Spot an Informant and How the cops are tracking you and No Warrant No Problem and Criminal defenses (How to beat your court case) And to inspire you: 7 Fugitives who Became Folk Heroes, How I Lost my friends