Attorneys for the state and the defense rested their cases and made closing arguments in the trial of Jaquindalyn Carr, 36, today in Calhoun County Circuit Judge Malcolm Street’s courtroom.
Carr is alleged to have stabbed her husband, Demetrious, with a steak knife at their home on Maumee Drive on May 2, 2010 during a domestic dispute. Demetrious is alleged to have kicked in the door of the house after he came home to find Carr had left his personal belongings in the front yard.
Carr took the stand in the morning and said she had stabbed her husband in self-defense. In her testimony, Carr said the couple had been in similar fights in which she’d put her husband’s belongings on the front lawn, but Demetrious had never acted as violently as he did that night.
“He was a totally different person that night,” Carr said. “I had never seen him like that. I didn’t know what was wrong with him. He was just out of his mind or something.”
Carr said Demetrious had left the property in his car and she was picking items off the front lawn, when he suddenly came back and charged at her.
“I was just trying to fight back,” Carr said, explaining that she has picked up a knife among the objects in the yard. “I just swung back and stabbed him.”
The lead prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Sheila Field, said Carr’s story on the stand didn’t match statements she made the morning of the incident when she told deputies she went back in the house to get a knife to stab Demetrious. Field also questioned Carr about why her husband came back to the house after he’d already left with his possessions.
“What, pray tell, reason did he have to come back to hit you?” Field asked. “You’re telling the jury he came back just to hit you in the mouth? Does that make any sense to you?”
Field said she didn’t buy Carr’s self-defense story, saying the woman could have only fatally punctured her husband’s neck with a direct attack.
“Swing back? I don’t think so,” Field said, making a thrusting motion with her hand. “That wouldn’t be a swing back; that was a deliberate stab.”
Throughout the state’s questioning of Carr, and again during his closing statements to the jury, Carr’s attorney, Wilford Lane, accused Field of not allowing his client time to answer questions and pestering her with repeated questions she’d already answered.
“I’ve been doing this 34 years and I’ve never seen my own witness being badgered by the state the way she has,” Lane said to the jury. “They were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and they were going to discredit her anyway they could.”
Lane also accused prosecutors of trying to gain sympathy from the jury by repeatedly showing photos of Demetrious Carr’s dead body, both at the crime scene and during the autopsy.
“The state is going to say he’s not here to defend himself and I agree I wish he was here,” Lane said. “I wish this was an assault trial, I’d have a lot of questions for him.”
Lane also attacked the state’s opening statements, which he said accused the defense of trying to discredit Demetrious’ character to sway the jury.
“It’s not character assassination, it’s the facts,” Lane said. “They say she was upset, so she stabbed him... he attacked her.”
But the prosecution harkened back to the differences in testimonies and pointed to three different versions of events that were told during the trial. That included testimony from witness Jasmine Murray on Tuesday, who said she saw Demetrious hit Carr twice inside the house. Carr’s statements, both to officers on May 2, 2010, and her testimony in the courtroom said the violent confrontation took place outside the house.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Weems said in the prosecution’s closing statements that if Carr’s testimony on the stand was true, the stabbing would still constitute manslaughter and urged the jury to convict her of the crime.
The jury is set to resume deliberation at 8:15 a.m. today.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.