Assault Trial Probes How Cell Phone Got Lodged in Woman's Throat

Different explanations for how a cell phone became lodged in a woman's throat were offered as the trial of the woman's boyfriend got under way in this Kansas City suburb.

Jackson County prosecutors said Tuesday that Marlon Brando Gill, 24, of Kansas City, shoved the phone down Melinda Abell's throat in December because he was angry and jealous. But defense attorneys insisted the 25-year-old victim swallowed the phone intentionally to prevent Gill from seeing whom she had been calling.

Gill is charged with first-degree assault, a felony, in a case that garnered widespread publicity as police tried to sort out what happened.

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Abell herself has offered inconsistent accounts of what happened before she was transported to a Kansas City hospital, where an emergency room doctor used a tool called a "pincher" to remove the phone.

She testified Tuesday that she couldn't remember how the phone got in her throat, saying she drank too much that night.

Abell wrote in a statement to police after the incident: "I think he thought I'd been talking to other guys. ... He took my phone to see who I had been calling. ... If I didn't want him to see my phone, I would have just thrown it out the window and busted it."

Though she testified that she could not recall writing the statement, the statement was allowed as evidence.

Much of her testimony centered on her relationship with Gill. They began dating in 2004.

"It was good at first, then it got rocky," Abell said.

She described Gill as controlling and testified that he had verbally and physically abused her, sometimes causing police to show up. Under cross-examination, Abell acknowledged she never told police about the abuse and continued to live with Gill until the cell phone became lodged in her throat.