Accused killer on trial for murder of LGBT activist

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The wife of a metro Atlanta LGBT activist delivered emotional testimony on Wednesday about discovering her wife's murder during the trial of the man accused of raping, stabbing and choking her to death.

The women, who asked not to be identified, was three months pregnant when police say Donte Lamar Wyatt burst into the East Atlanta home she shared with Catherine Han Montoya, 37, and brutally killed her on April 13, 2015. Montoya's wife was at work while she stayed at home awaiting the delivery of a new refrigerator.

A neighbor called her to say something was wrong at her home, according to WSB.

“She said the police are at your house. Is everything OK? I was like what do you mean,” Montoya's wife said in court Wednesday.

“I really didn't have any clue. I just knew something bad had happened,” she said.

She left work to return to their home near Moreland Avenue and when she arrived, she encountered swarms of emergency personnel.

“They had everything blocked off and it seemed like 100 people in suits and cops and tape. I was a few houses away and I couldn't go any further,” she said.

When police told her that Montoya was dead, she became overwhelmed.

“I couldn't really stand, so they called an ambulance. I was pregnant and I was worried about something happening with that,” she testified.

Opening arguments began in Wyatt's trial on Tuesday. Wyatt, 34, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, rape, aggravated sodomy, three counts of aggravated assault, home invasion, first degree burglary, false imprisonment, theft by taking and criminal trespass.

Wyatt's burst of violence started earlier on April 13 when he allegedly attacked his estranged wife outside a Waffle House in Henry County. His now ex-wife testified on Wednesday that Wyatt stabbed her several times before she escaped and begged strangers for help, according to WSB.

“Please, he's trying to kill me. He was still trying to pull me in the van,” the women said in court.

Wyatt fled and ended up on Shadowridge Drive, where he knocked on Montoya's door. When she answered, he burst inside and raped, stabbed and strangled her, police said. He left her partially clothed body in a pool of blood, police said.

Wyatt pleaded not guilty during a brief court appearance in March. 

Wyatt is also charged with attacking his cellmate in the DeKalb County Jail after he was arrested. He allegedly strangled Jah'Corey Tyson on July 4, 2015 and removed his eyeballs. He pleaded not guilty to charges related to the jailhouse murder in September 2015. 

Friends and former co-workers have praised Montoya as “a vibrant champion for social justice.” Montoya worked as a senior field manager for the Leadership on Civil & Human Rights and the leadership Conference Education Fund from 2008-2012. She described herself as a “Queer Chicana Korean Feminist (and Broncos fan).”

Montoya's funeral was held April 19, 2015. A You Caring fundraising campaign after her death received $62,373 in donations to help with family expenses.


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