Carter trial, Day 2: Roommate testifies, defense and prosecution rests
The trial of former University of Arizona track and field coach Craig Carter continued today. Carter allegedly assaulted and stalked a former student-athlete, Baillie Gibson, in 2015.
He is standing trial on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a weapon. The two had allegedly been in a sexual relationship.
Before the jury was brought in, prosecutor Jonathan Mosher and attorney Dan Cooper discussed the matter of how the jury could use some of the statements made by Gibson’s best friend, Julie LaBonté, a conversation they continued after her testimony.
Jurors were then brought into the room, where Mosher presented emails from Carter to Gibson, which were obtained from Gibson’s phone.
“I just sat and cried asking, 'God why I have been so evil?'” Carter wrote to Gibson in an email. “I asked for him to help me and to forgive me for what I have done. I asked him to help you that you would feel peace in your mind and heart … I hope with time you will let me back into your life. I know I am a good person, and I know you are, too. I need you to believe me … I promise I will never touch you again. I am so sorry.”
Lead detective testifies, arrest video played
Mosher then called the prosecutions first witness, University of Arizona Police Department detective Timothy Larkin, the main detective on the case.
After establishing his credentials and role in the case, Mosher submitted the initial interview between Larkin and Carter. He then played the tape over the screens in the courtroom.
The tape was from May 1, 2015, and showed Larkin and Carter in a small room around a table. Carter was handcuffed.
Larkin asked if the only relationship between Carter and Gibson was “a coach to student relationship.” Carter replied, “Yes.”
“She says you two are involved in an intimate relationship,” Larkin said. “After a month into that relationship, she tried to break it off, at which time you threatened her.”
Carter responded that they had both tried to break off their relationship several times.
“[Gibson] has said ‘I don’t want to be with anyone else but you,’” Carter said. “She’s very manipulative in the way she went about things.”
Carter admitted to making a “big” mistake and that he felt like he fell in love with Gibson. He thought she felt the same.
When Gibson said she wanted to leave, Carter recalled, he replied, “’Well, I don’t want you to leave because look what I’ve given up. So I said, 'I’m going to kill myself because I don’t have anything left.'”
What started the argument, according to Carter, was a text from Gibson that said, “I’m an independent woman.” This left Carter confused, because they had discussions about leaving together after she graduated.
“All the sudden, she comes out with … ‘I don’t even love you, and I haven’t loved you for a long time,’” Carter said. “I gave up my life, you know, for her … My job, my family, my wife. That’s what she wanted, and that’s what I wanted. And I was willing to do that because I wanted to be with her.”
Carter blames 'mind games,' defense cross exams Larkin
Carter then described the alleged mind games Gibson played with him, and the back-and-forth nature of their relationship.
“She tells a very different story than you do,” Larkin said after Carter finished, mentioning how she told him how Carter threatened her with a box cutter.
Carter expanded on the story, where he accused her of thinking everything was a game, to which she responded, “Yep, it is."
Carter then told Larkin he grabbed Gibson's shirt as she said, “Hit me, hit me, I dare you, I dare you.” Carter said he grabbed her by the neck and pulled out the orange box cutter.
“After five seconds, I let go and put the box cutters down,” Carter said. “I told her not to leave and said I was sorry and said I was going to stick it in my neck.”
Gibson then allegedly hugged Carter, an act Carter chalked up to Gibson playing more mind games.
Carter said he later disposed of the box cutters by “chucking” them out the window of his car on the freeway.
Larkin steered the interview to Carter and Gibson's sexual relationship and asked how many times they had sexual relations in the last two and a half years. Carter guessed about once or twice a week most weeks, not including school breaks such as over the summer or winter.
Larkin then asked how the sexual relationship started.
“She was texting me. I have to say it’s all my fault, but she’s the one that’s coming on to me," Carter said in the interview. "Basically, it was a website. She said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'I’m looking at a website,' and she said, 'What’s it called?' And I said, 'Adam & Eve.'”
Adam & Eve is an online store that sells sex toys.
Carter said Gibson got on the site and mentioned she liked to use a certain toy.
Carter asked, “Can I watch?” And she said, “You can do more than watch.”
Carter described how they began having sex only for fun and how he had never been with another woman besides his wife, who he met when he was 16. He said she changed him, turning him from someone who joked and laughed all the time and didn’t “have a mean bone in my body” to someone who was quiet, distant and had a short temper.
Larkin ended the conversation by saying, “You’re going to be looking at some charges to answer to.”
Carter began crying.
“[Gibson] just gets to walk away. She just gets to walk away," Carter said. "She’s sitting there, laughing. She’s sitting there laughing.”
The defense then cross-examined Larkin. Carter's Attorney went down multiple lines of reasoning to cast doubt on certain statements.
His attorney claimed there was no evidence that Gibson was strangled, such as photographs of injury on Gibson’s neck, and cited how Gibson never said that their first time having sex was non-consensual.
After the lunch break, Gibson's best friend, LaBonté, was called to the stand.
Best friend takes stand
The prosecution established her relationship with Gibson and then focused into the events on April 20, 2015, the day Gibson was allegedly threatened by Carter with a box cutter.
According to LaBonté, she drove Gibson to McKale Center, where Gibson broke down in the car.
"I tried to ask her multiple questions, but she didn't want to go into details about what was going on," LaBonté said. "She said, 'I need to meet coach Carter.'"
LaBonté waited by the ticket office at McKale Center for over an hour before Gibson returned.
"She was speaking differently," LaBonté said. "She was trying to be very quiet; she was trying to stay calm, so I [wouldn't] be furious, so she brought up the subject slowly."
Gibson then explained her relationship with Carter and what happened in Carter's office.
Gibson explained to LaBonté that, in 2012 at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, she went to a party and was intoxicated.
"Usually, if anyone has an issue we call the coach to go back to the hotel," LaBonté explained. "[Gibson] called Craig and she said she woke up the next morning ... She was kind of wet. They went to the airport, and they were going to leave, and Craig called her in, and he showed her a picture of her naked."
The defense and the prosecution rested their cases after the cross-examination, and the judge scheduled closing statements to begin tomorrow at 10 a.m. Jury deliberations will then be held to decide a verdict.
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