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Murder suspect’s calls generate more charges

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GREENFIELD — Accused murderer Colby McKnelly has continued to make calls from jail to a woman who is expected to testify against him, despite a no-contact order and his own attorney’s request to cut off his phone privileges, police said.

This week marks the third time since his initial arrest that prosecutors have filed additional charges against McKnelly, 26, of Greenfield, relating to alleged contact with on-again, off-again girlfriend Jessi Parsons-Freeman. She was present the night Steven Rogers Jr., 26, of Indianapolis was stabbed to death, according to court documents.

McKnelly does not deny stabbing Rogers but told investigators Rogers attacked him first and that McKnelly acted in self-defense, police said.

Parsons-Freeman, who told police McKnelly stabbed her in the arm that same night, drove to her parents’ house after the fight and told them what happened, according to court documents. Her father then dialed 911 and reported someone at McKnelly’s address in the first block of North Broadway Street had been hurt.

In the background of the call, a voice police identified as that of Parsons-Freeman can be heard saying McKnelly stabbed Rogers.

Since his arrest, McKnelly has repeatedly contacted Parsons-Freeman on recorded jail phone calls and asked her to change her story, according to court documents.

In the latest development, McKnelly, 26, is recorded calling a woman he refers to as “Haley,” but police say they aren’t fooled; the woman on the other end of the end of the line makes several statements indicating she is Parsons-Freeman using someone else’s phone.

According to statements made in the calls, McKnelly asked Parsons-Freeman to set him free and “come through for their love” by changing her statement to police, court records state.

In a call between the two last week, Parsons-Freeman asked McKnelly for the name of his lawyer after McKnelly asked her once again to change her story, court records state.

Parsons-Freeman admitted to police she was the woman referred to as Haley in the calls and said she sent McKnelly a phone card so she could hear his voice, court records state.

To date, McKnelly faces 28 charges, including murder and felony charges of strangulation, battery and criminal confinement.

A hearing to rule on McKnelly’s attorney’s motion to have his phone privileges suspended, as well as allow McKnelly to enter a plea on the latest charges, is set for Friday.

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