Patrick Allen, on trial in New Jersey for the frying-pan killing of his wife, ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that he had kept secret. Once she found out, on Nov. 18, 2011, Allen allegedly struck her on the head with the pan and strangled her in the kitchen of her home.

On Tuesday, Kristen Albert, a supervisor at the Massachusetts collection agency, Nelson Watson & Associates, took the stand in his murder trial, reports the Asbury Park Press.

Prosecutors have alleged that phone calls Allen made to the collection agency revealed his family's financial woes and attempts he made to hide them from his wife, Kimberly Allen. Albert testified that the calls were made between July and October of 2011. The jury heard recordings of seven of those calls.

At one point, Albert told Allen, now 47, he owed $4,635 in credit card debt for which he was about to be taken to court. Allen replied by saying he wanted to give Albert a different phone number to reach him at "because the one number you called was my ex-wife's."

On another call, Allen was transferred to another collection agency employee who sought financial information to establish that he didn't have the resources to pay the debt. Allen ran off a long list of mortgage debt, home equity delinquencies and personal debts.

Allen also informed the collection agency he was upset because collection calls were made to his "ex-wife's" parents, who were calling here and getting attorneys involved. All of it was costing him money and his wife was getting upset.

Prosecutors clearly are attempting to show that Allen was not being honest with his wife about his debts and that financial problems had created a strain in the marriage. The trial continued on Wednesday.

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