Trial Begins For Man Charged In Strangling

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By Marie Rohde

After Calvin Pirtle took his live-in girlfriend to work and dropped off her kids at school, he brought another women home, where they had sex before he killed her and hid the body in the basement, according to opening statements at his murder trial Tuesday.
But Pirtle’s attorney told a Milwaukee County jury Tuesday that his client was not guilty of the first degree intentional homicide charge he faces because he never intended to kill 21-year old Yasmine Tatum-Massey on September 17, 2008.
“It was not an intentional act,” said Scott Anderson. “It was a reckless act.”
In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney mark Williams painted the jury a picture of a gruesome crime and it’s discovery.
When Pirtle’s girlfriend got home she found large pools of blood on the carpet.
Pirtle, 30, said it was his. She found a pair of women’s shoes and a curling iron, and he said they were gifts to her.
Her suspicions mushroomed when Pirtle told her to stay out of the basement, Williams said.
Later that evening , when police arrived at the house next door on unrelated matter, she asked them to come to her apartment….and see the blood. They left when Pirtle said it was his.
“That night she didn’t sleep,” Williams told the jury. “She wanted to go to the basement.”
Early the next morning she slipped out of bed and discovered the 21 year old victim’s body, in a garbage bag stuffed in a trash barrel…..When she heard Pirtle, she pretended to do laundry.
The girlfriend then called 911, Williams said. Pirtle caught her on the phone and when she insisted that he tell her what happened , he said:
“I was giving someone a tattoo and they didn’t want to pay me and I lost it.”
The victim died of strangulation but was badly beaten and stabbed twice, Williams said.


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