Sentencing phase underway in Cargill trial

Published: May. 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM CDT
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The sentencing phase for Kimberly Cargill began Monday morning.

She was convicted Friday of Capital Murder in the 2010 death of Cherry Walker.

Prosecutors say Cargill killed Walker to keep her from testifying in a child custody case.

Kimberly Cargill faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

KLTV's Melanie Torre will be in the courtroom with live updates that will be posted right here.

Cargill Sentencing

Bingham begins by thanking the jury for the decision they made. He tells them they made the right decision.

He tells them to take into account everything they've already heard and everything they are about to hear. He tells them Cargill has physically and emotionally hurt her children, husbands, mother, teachers and friends.

Today three of Cargill's sons as well as her husbands and mother will testify.

Bingham goes over Cargill's history of violence and a bad temper. He tells the jury Cargill's second oldest son repeatedly ran away because Cargill would choke him. He tells the jury one time she started slapping her ex husband and a five year old because they opened the bag of potato chips before she got to eat any. Bingham says one of her children hasn't spoken to her in 10 years. Bingham says another son won't even call Cargill "mom" but instead calls her "KC."

Matt says the things that Cargill's kids say set her off we're things like playing X-Box, folding the clothes wrong, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich wrong. Cargill had the locks reversed so she could lock her children in their rooms and they couldn't lock her out.

Bingham says today will show the jury who they really have sitting across the courtroom.

State calls Sandra Craig, a psychologist, who has been retired for about 6 years. She has always practiced in Dallas.

The court decides some things regarding the psychologist's testimony need to be discussed outside the presence of the jury. The jury is escorted out.


The jury is brought back in after a half hour of questioning Craig to see what she can testify to since she is retired.  It's decided Craig can only testify to what was is in her report from 20 years ago when she last saw Cargill. Craig cannot interpret or define anything because she is no longer licensed by the state and cannot be considered an expert witness.

Bingham and Craig go over Kimberly Cargill's (then Kimberly West) records from a session with the psychologist during her marriage to Michael West. The report says Cargill has a narcissistic personality disorder and is attracted to danger without fear of consequences. It says she has extremely low tolerance for frustration. The report says she lacks empathy and is extremely self absorbed. The report shows Cargill could be overly authoritative when challenged and vindictive.

State passes the witness.

Defense asks if Craig has any records of Kimberly West to support her findings. Craig says she does not have any.  In the report, Cargill indicated to Craig that she attributed a lot of her problems to her own bad temper. Craig and the defense talk about the tests given to Cargill to reach these conclusions.

State asks Craig about get visits to the West home. Craig's evaluation was court ordered by CPS. Craig says she recommended Michael West be the sole managing conservator of their son.

Defense asks if it's fair to say Kimberly Cargill had multiple psychological problems when Craig evaluated her. Craig says yes.

State asks Craig to clarify those problems. She clarifies them as emotional outbursts and potential to act out angry impulses against others.

Recess until 1:15 p.m..

State calls Rodrigo Valdez to the witness stand. Valdez rented a property to Cargill in 2001. Valdez says Cargill didn't get along with the neighbors. He says she would yell and curse at them. He says one time he saw Cargill carrying her baby around on a cold December morning. He says the baby was only wearing shoes and a diaper. Valdez says Cargill's apartment and car were very disorderly. He says he remembers seeing Cargill ordering her small son to carry a 40 pound bag of dog food up the steps into the apartment. Valdez says he remembers the older boy at the house being afraid of his mother. He says he remembers Cargill being in a bad mood and kicking her baby once when he was talking to her. He says this is the same baby he saw outside in the cold with no clothes on.

Defense takes over the witness.

Valdez says Cargill lived on his property for about 3 months. Valdez and the defense talk about a statement he gave to authorities in 2001 when someone asked him for a statement. Valdez says he'd hoped someone would help the baby but didn't contact anyone because he didn't want to start any trouble.

State calls next witness Natalie Watkins.

Natalie lived by Cargill in 2001. She says Cargill was very short-tempered with her two sons and would yell loudly at them. Natalie says Cargill would use "the GD word" when she was yelling. She says most of the time Cargill would yell at her kids when they were getting out of the car. "They were terrified. You could see it on their face," Natalie says.

State: Did you ever see them happy?

Natalie: Never.

Natalie says she had seen the younger son sleeping on a trash bag once.

Natalie says she has spoken to Kim Cargill, at the most, five times.

Natalie: To me she was very aggressive. The first time you could say that I met her, she got in my personal space really fast.

Natalie tells the jury she wouldn't want to be alone with Kim.

State passes the witness. Defense shows Natalie paperwork showing she moved into the house by Kim in 2002.

Defense: So you only saw her about 5 times?

Natalie: Yes. I tried to avoid her.

State calls Rachel Wilson, Cargill's mother.

Wilson goes over the names of the four children that Kim had and the four Father's names. The court has asked the children not be named by the media because three of them are minors and their father's have requested their names not be used. Kim was born in Mississippi and moved with her mother and stepfather to Dallas in 1978. Wilson says Kim was a good student and a cheerleader. Wilson says in most people's eyes, Cargill's mother says Kim had a good childhood. After graduating from Berkner High School in Richardson, Kim attended TJC. Wilson says Kim attended college multiple times before obtaining her LVN degree.

State tells Wilson they know this is difficult for her. Wilson says if given the choice she would not be here.

State asks Wilson to describe Kim's temper. She says Kim is easily provoked. Wilson says she hasn't spoken to Kimberly in more than 2 years.

State: Is she quiet and meek?

Rachel Wilson: At times, yes.

State begins asking questions about Kim's temper.

State: The norm for her is extreme, isn't it?

Rachel: Not always.

State: At one point you stated, you like to stay out of her firing line.

Rachel: I do that with everybody.

State: I understand this is uncomfortable for you.

Rachel: It's very uncomfortable.

State tells Rachel she is going to be asked these questions because they have to ask these questions not because they want to ask these questions. Rachel interrupts the state by saying, "I know."

State asks if Rachel and Kim talk. Rachel says, "Of course not. I haven't spoken with her since May 2010."

State: Do you feel like you were a good mom to her?

Rachel: She had everything that she needed. She had a good life, a lot of material things and a lot of privileges.

State begins asking about when Kimberly was arrested for assaulting her mother.

As the state asks Rachel about the details of that night, Rachel begins to cry. She tells the jury Kim pushed her against a wall and put her hands around her neck. Rachel says she called 9-1-1 and Kim was arrested. Rachel says she asked for the charges to be dropped. At the time of this incident, in 1994, Kim was 9 months pregnant.

State: Has she ever told you she wished you were dead?

Rachel: Yes

State: Do you remember the circumstances when she was telling you that?

Rachel: Yes. When [Kim's third son] was born in 1999 I flew them to Portland. Kim wanted to come up so we could bond with [the new baby]. Kim stayed for close to two months and things started not to go well and, I guess, she told me when she left that she hoped my cancer came back and I died a lonely old woman by myself.

Rachel says she spoke to Kim briefly at a family gathering in 2001, then they were estranged until 2007.

Rachel says Kimberly has told people she has chron's disease and lupus. Rachel says Kim told her adoptive father that.

State asks if Kim is honest, manipulative or selfish. Rachel replies with very mixed emotion answers like, "she can be" and "not always".

State asks if Kim will go to extreme lengths to be in control of a situation. Rachel replies, "She likes things to be her way like everyone else does "

15 minute recess.

Rachel gets back on the stand and Cargill begins patting her eyes with a tissue as if she's wiping away tears.

State resumes asking Rachel questions. Rachel says originally Kim was working out with the Rangerettes and planned to attend Kilgore College. Rachel says Kim decided to switch to TJC because she did not want to participate in part of Rangerette initiation.

After attending TJC for a while, Kim refused to show her parents her grades, so they stopped paying for her school and she quit attending TJC.

Rachel says Kim was never quite happy at holidays or birthdays. Rachel says she'd buy Kim the things she asked for but it wouldn't make her happy.

Rachel says a lot of times if Kim was at a family gathering, something would go awry.

Rachel says she and her husband were considering moving to Texas to be closer to the kids. She says Kim began helping them look for a house and as it ended up, Rachel and her husband bought Kim a home first.

Rachel says Kim didn't seem to have a lot of friends. The only friend Kim's mother can recall is Jill Low.

The state and Rachel continue to go over the history of Rachel taking custody and Cargill coming to visit her children.

State asks Rachel about when she found out Kim had told someone she wanted to kill her mother. Rachel says when she heard Kim was saying she was going to kill her she wasn't completely shocked and became afraid.

State passes the witness. Defense asks to consult at the bench. Rachel is dismissed.

State calls April Pitts. Pitts is Cargill's sister.

April says she hasn't spoken to Cargill in two years because of this situation. April says growing up they were not close because Cargill was demanding and controlling. April says Cargill was very involved in school  activities and drill team. She says there wasn't really a time when their relationship got better. They were always estranged. April talks about an argument she had with Cargill. She says she can't remember what they were fighting about this time but thinks it was either about Cargill completely shaving April's dog or Cargill fighting with her son and kicking holes in the wall.

The state and April begin talking about Cargill's temper. April says Cargill can turn on a dime from happy to angry.

"Like seeing the devil. I'm scared of her," April says.

April tells the jury Kim is very convincing when she wants to come off as sweet and innocent.

April says she'd have no reason to be around her sister at all if it weren't for her sister's children.

April tells a story of one time when she was driving by Cargill's apartment and randomly decided to stop and saw Kim's three year old son playing in the courtyard without supervision. April says they went to knock on Kim's apartment door and no one answered. She says she took Kim's son back to the courtyard and about 15 minutes later Kim walked up. Kim told April she'd been home but in the restroom.

April says Kim is very manipulative. "She's smarter than y'all," April says. "She has more law sense than most people do."

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