Abilene police obtain search warrants for murder suspects' phones

Michael Gootee, 37, and Kimberly Mansell, 39, were charged with first-degree murder during June 2016.? Mansell allegedly lured Donald Perkins to a north Abilene location, where Gootee allegedly shot and killed him.

ABILENE, Texas - Abilene police believe cell phone data will help them with the motive behind the murder of Donald Perkins.

Perkins was shot and killed Sunday in the 1400 block of North Arnold Boulevard. Two people – 39-year-old Kimberly Mansell and 37-year-old Michael Gootee – have been charged with murder.

Police say Mansell lured Perkins to the scene by calling and telling him she had a flat tire. Gootee then drove by on his motorcycle and shot Perkins several times, according to police.

Police obtained search warrants for cellular data from Sprint for both Gootee's and Mansell's phones.

According to the warrants, police believe information stored on Gootee's phone will document how long he had known Perkins. Police are also hoping to find emails, calls and texts between them. They believe the information will help them understand "the motive behind the murder."

According to court documents obtained by KTXS, Gootee was searching bars and other areas in Abilene looking for Perkins. Witnesses told police that Gootee said "when he found Perkins, he was going to kill him due to a family dispute involving Gootee's daughter."

Police believe phone calls, text message and data transmissions to Mansell's phone will help them learn more "about what was happening during the time period leading up to Perkins murder." They say it will also show the location of her phone before, during and immediately following the murder.

Mansell and Gootee are both being held on $250,000 bond. Gootee's attorney filed a motion to have his client's bond reduced to $50,000. A bond reduction hearing is set for July 20.

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