The first witness Friday afternoon was Janelle Fox, mother of Nicholas Shires.
Janelle Fox said Nicholas Shires and Wendy Cobb had an intimate relationship, and her son said he was in love with her. Fox and her husband had socialized with the couple.
On April 28, 2009, Shires said Cobb picked him up at his mother’s home.
“I didn’t actually see her, but she came to pick up my son the first time (she came to the Fox house that day),” Fox said. “They told me they were going to get the motorcycle (from Wendy’s house).”
Fox said Wendy arrived late in the afternoon the second time. “She brought me Nick’s keys and cell phone that he had left in her truck.”
“Did that cell phone start ringing later?” Assistant District Attorney Chuck Ramsey asked.
“Off the wall.”
“Did you look to see who it was?”
Fox said Shires borrowed the motorcycle to go to drug court. After the fire, Fox told Shires to get rid of the bike.
“There was discussion between those two about buying the bike,” Fox said. “It was my understanding it wasn’t hers to sell.”
Beth Dobbs said she met Wendy in 2003 and they became “really good friends.” By 2008, their communication was less frequent. Dobbs said she and Wendy talked about her divorce. Wendy had moved away from the home she shared with Mike, but decided to move back there about a month before the fire. “She was having financial problems and didn’t think she could provide for herself on her own,” Dobbs said. “Wendy was scared she couldn’t get custody of the kids.”
Dobbs said she and Wendy had more than one conversation where Wendy said “it would be easier for her if Mike was just dead.”
The night of the fire, Wendy arrived at Dobbs’ home around 8:30 p.m. in Mike’s truck. Dobbs said Wendy stayed about an hour and was already gone when she got the call about the fire.
Dobbs heard about the fire from a third party around 10 p.m. She called Wendy. “She said I need you. I need you, friend. Please come,” Dobbs said.
Donnie Jordan was a business partner with Mike Dobbs. They raised whitetail deer. “He was like a brother to me,” Jordan said.
A few months before the fire, Jordan said Mike moved out of his home and moved in with Jordan. “He lived with me about three weeks. Then he went back home.” Jordan said Mike told him often he was concerned for his safety. “He was afraid that Wendy was going to have him killed.”
Jordan said Mike called him about a week before the fire. “He was afraid something bad was going to happen. He said he was afraid someone was going to kill him. I said come back to my house. If you’re scared for your life, leave there.” But Jordan said Mike would not leave the house because he wouldn’t leave his children.