Cargill's family testifies during sentencing phase of trial

Published: May. 22, 2012 at 1:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM CDT
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The sentencing phase for Kimberly Cargill will continue Tuesday. On Monday Kimberly's own mother and sister took the stand to testify against the convicted murderer.

She was convicted on 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 without parole or the death penalty.

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

Cargill Sentencing Day 2

State calls detective Noel Martin.

Martin tells the jury this morning he rolled Cargill's prints. He explains the process and purpose of rolling prints.

Martin says the prints he rolled this morning match the prints of Kimberly Cargill's on record and the prints of Kimberly West.

The state and Martin go over some of Cargill's criminal records where she was arrested for assaulting people, issued deferred adjudication probation, failed to appear, etc.

State calls Johna Booker. Booker used to teach one of Cargill's sons when he was in 4th grade. The state asks Booker to tell the jury the story of meet the teacher night. Booker says she introduced herself to Cargill's son as his new teacher. Booker says she tried talking to Cargill's son, but Kim kept interrupting and speaking for her son. Kim supposedly gave Booker a look and said, "I'm talking to you."

Booker says at meet the teacher night, Cargill's younger son (about age 3) was running around in circles around Cargill and she grabbed him by the arm and jerked him back inappropriately and more forcefully than Booker felt necessary.

Booker says other things bothered her that school year. She says she hugs a lot of her students but Cargill's son would always stiffen and shy away from personal contact. Booker talks about the thumbprint size bruises Cargill's son had on his arms and how he often wore long sleeves in the warm months as if he was covering up something. Booker says the conversations she had with Cargill were very intense and intimidating.

Booker says if Cargill's son made less than a 96 on an assignment, Cargill would demand Booker give Cargill's son extra work. Booker says she refused to issue Cargill's son more work because he was already a very good student and that would make Cargill very mad.

Booker says after Cargill's son went to live with his father, he was much more relaxed and less fearful.

Booker says she has had a lot of interactions with parents but her interactions with Cargill she'll remember throughout her career.

Defense takes over the witness.

The defense asks Booker if she can tell the jury that the bruises on her student came from Mrs. Cargill. The defense reminds Booker that boys play football and rough-house. Booker says Cargill's son never admitted his mother was hurting him.

State takes over the witness again.

State asks Booker if she believes the bruises were caused by Cargill. Booker says she does believe the bruises on her student were inflicted by Cargill.

Defense asks if Cargill was very nice and polite sometimes. Booker answers "yes."

State asks if the times when Cargill wasn't nice were extreme compared to most parents. Booker says "yes."

State calls next witness, Tracey Carter. Carter was another teacher of the same son Booker taught.

Carter says she remembered meeting Cargill at meet the teacher night. She says Cargill was very agitated because she didn't realize her son was going to have four different teachers. Carter says Cargill didn't have time for this and Carter thought she'd left. Carter says about an hour and a half later Cargill showed up again crying. Carter says Cargill was crying because someone had cut in front of her when she was in line to meet a teacher. Carter says Cargill was very upset.

The state asked Carter if she ever noticed bruises on Cargill's son. Carter says she did but Cargill's son always had a story for how he got the bruise.

Carter says if she would touch Cargill's son on the shoulder or back he would flinch. She says Cargill's son appeared very nervous and unhappy while he was living with his mother.

State passes the witness.

Defense asks if Carter would describe Cargill as highly emotional. Carter says yes. Carter describes Cargill as "sweet as sugar one minute and mad as a hornet the next.

The defense asked both Booker and Carter if they thought Cargill had a mental disorder. Neither answered the question. The state objected, suggesting the defense consult a doctor for those answers.

State calls Barbara Chamberlain. Chamberlain is a small elderly woman in her late 70s. Chamberlain says Cargill dated her step-grandson. Chamberlain says she hasn't seen Cargill since 1999. She tells the jury Cargill physically assaulted her.

Chamberlain tells the story of the altercation that lead up to Cargill assaulting her. Chamberlain says she saw some wet photographs laying in the yard so she brought the photos in to dry. Cargill supposedly got angry at Chamberlain for having the photos. Chamberlain says Cargill attacked her and started twisting her arm. Chamberlain says she kicked Cargill to get her to stop and Cargill landed on a table. She says Cargill said, "What's the matter with you? Don't you know I'm pregnant?" to which Chamberlain replied, "You may not be anymore."

Chamberlain says Cargill was very possessive of Matt, Chamberlain's step-grandson and Cargill's boyfriend.

The assault was reduced to a class C misdemeanor, Cargill paid a fine and the case didn't go to court.

State: Do you think she twisted your arm to get the photo or to hurt you?

Chamberlain: To hurt me.

State calls Michael West. West was Cargill's first husband. He currently lives in Rockwall county. West had one child with Cargill 21 years ago.

West and the state discuss Cargill's marriage. West says Cargill's anger was explosive and extreme. He says in his experience her fits of rage would come and go quickly and Cargill would act like they never happened.

West says it's fair to say both he and Cargill are at fault for their marriage failing. He says Cargill would throw glasses, knives and anything in arms reach at him.

West tells the jury one time Cargill drove their car into the wall of the garage on purpose.

State shows West the third grade photo of his and Cargill's son. Their son had been staying with his mother and had a mark on his neck.

The state shows the jury West & Cargill's son's third grade photo where he has a red mark under his chin.

West tells the jury he is the one who filed for divorce. He explains their son lived with Cargill initially, until the divorce was finalized. At first Cargill's visitation did not have to be supervised but that later changed. When their son was 12 years old the supervised visitations stopped because the son wanted them to stop.

West says he can't remember what caused Cargill's visitations to begin being supervised but remembers CPS telling him if he didn't protect his son from Cargill, CPS would take him away.

West says their son would be aggressive for days following his visits with Cargill.

West says his son did tell him about the physical violence between he and his mother.

West tells the jury Cargill is always blaming her actions on something or someone else. He tells the jury Cargill is clever, manipulative and controlling.

West says Cargill once told a Rockwell judge her mother was dead (her mother testified yesterday). West says Cargill accused him of bribing the Rockwall judges.

West tells the jury about one time when Cargill kicked West's new wife in the stomach and took West's son away from the home.

West says today is the first time he has seen or spoken to Cargill in 10 years. He describes their marriage as "one of survival."

West says he was once arrested because Cargill fabricated an assault and went to authorities. West says a similar thing happened to Matt Robinson, another of Cargills' husbands, but Matt had it much worse. West had to do six months probation even though he never assaulted Kimberly.

West says his and Cargill's son is now in college with no desire to see his mother but today that son is going to testify. West says their son is very stressed about testifying and having trouble sleeping.

State: Do you consider your son to be another one of Kimberly Cargill's victims?

West: I do.

West tells the jury their son saw a psychologist from age 4 until age 14 because of what his mother inflicted on him. West says their son would get angry and not want to talk about his mother.

West says he doesn't have a doubt Cargill is capable of great violence. He says he never kept a gun in his house because of that.

State passes the witness.

The defense goes over West's answers to the State's questions.

Defense shows West a statement he made many years ago where he admitted to shoving or kicking Cargill. West says he doesn't remember doing that but he doesn't deny it.

State asks West if he had communication with Cargill's "other exes." West asks the defense to be more specific when talking about "other exes." West says he has spoken to Brian Cargill and Matt Robinson in the past but has not spoken to Forest Garner.

Defense asks for a five minute break to review a home study.

Defense asks a few questions about that home study.

State takes over the witness.

State asks West and the "other exes" have something in common because they've all been left in the wake of Kim Cargill. West says the other fathers of Kim's sons contacted him because he was able to get custody and they wanted advice.

State: What's the difference between you and Kim Cargill? Even just when it comes to your son.

West: I wouldn't even compare myself to her.

State resumes questioning Michael West on the stand.

The state asks West about a time he pushed Cargill into a wall. He says Cargill had thrown a hairspray can at him and cut is ear and he got angry and shoved him.

State calls David West, Cargill's oldest son. West is 21 years old.

David says he does not consider Cargill his mother. David tells the jury he has a stepmother and a stepsister.

David testifies he only has 1 or 2 good memories of his mother. He says today he is still scared of his mother. He describes her as abusive and says he has memories of Cargill choking him. He says her choking was taken to an extreme that should never be passed.

State: When's the first age you remember her hurting you?

David: I would say maybe second grade... first grade. First grade.

The state shows David a photo from his third grade picture. David says he remembers that day and doesn't want to talk about it. The state asks David what happened that morning. David says his mother hit him in the head with a hairbrush and put her hands around his neck and choked him.

State: Is the smile in that photo real?

David: No

The state puts a letter David wrote on display for the jury. David was 6 or 7 years old when he wrote the letter. It says when his mom choked him it felt like an alligator was biting his neck.

David says his mother used to lock him in his room. He says he got smart and made a key.

David tells the jury he was concerned about his half-brother who would sometimes be left alone with Cargill when David went back to his Dad's.

"I do not want to be here," David says. David tells the jury he just wants to get back to his normal life.

State asks David if he remembers an incident involving his mom, Sonja West and Sonja's daughter.

David tells the jury Cargill showed up at Michael and Sonja West's home one day to pick up David and his step-sister. Kimberly tried to take David and his stepsister but while they were fighting to get away from Cargill, Michael's new wife Sonja showed up. Michael says he saw Sonja pulling his stepsister away from Cargill. He says Cargill smashed Sonja's arm against a brick wall, then grabbed David and sped off.

David says Cargill threw a lot of things at him... From remote controls to glass to dishes.

David says he does think Cargill is manipulative, mean and controlling.

David says when he was 12 he told Cargill he would let her know when he wanted to see her again.

David says his life has been pretty good until about a year and a half ago when he "heard about all of this."

State calls Sonja West to the stand. Sonja and Michael West have been married for 18 years.

State asks Sonja about an incident on August 1, 1997 in Rockwall County.

Sonja says she, the nanny Glenda, David, and Leigh Ann were all at the house at the time of the incident. Sonja had left work so she could be present when Cargill picked up David. Sonja says her ex-husband called saying Cargill was picking up LeighAnn and bringing her to her father. Sonja says Leigh Ann was saying goodbye to her mom and Cargill got agitated because she was in a hurry and picked Leigh Ann up by the arm, entirely off the ground and starting taking her out to the car. Sonja said she went after Cargill to get Leigh Ann because Leigh Ann was screaming and crying in pain. Sonja says Cargill became enraged and attacked Sonja. Sonja says Cargill shoved her up against a brick wall and kicked her in the stomach, the ran after David. Sonja says Cargill grabbed David and picked him up while he was kicking and screaming and threw him in the car through the passenger side window.

State passes around photos of Sonja's injuries to the jury.

Sonja says her daughter had met Cargill from Cargill being at Sonja's ex-husband's house.

State: Did you know the extent of your ex-husbands relationship with Kimberly Cargill?

Sonja: Not personally, no.

Sonja says with every fiber of her being she wanted to swing back at Kimberly but Sonja didn't want to teach the children that violence was the answer.

The State addresses Cargill's capital murder conviction and asks, "Do you believe this has been a stressful event for David?" Sonja answers yes.

State calls Leigh Ann Henry. Henry is David's stepsister and Sonja's daughter.

The state begins asking Leigh Ann about the incident Sonja and Michael testified about.

Leigh Ann says she remembers Cargill getting mad because Leigh Ann was crying and didn't want to leave fast enough. Leigh Ann says she remembers Cargill pulling her left arm so hard she thought it was going to come out of the socket. Leigh Ann says she remembers David hitting Cargill with a duffel bag in an effort to help Sonja and Leigh Ann, then getting scared and running away when Cargill went after him.

Leigh Ann says she's replayed that memory countless timed since...

Defense asks Leigh Ann if she'd seen Cargill many times before that. Leigh Ann says she had not, just when Cargill was picking up David or at David's birthday party.

Leigh Ann tells the jury it has been incredibly stressful on David learning that his mother was accused and then convicted of capital murder.

State calls Brad Merritt. Merritt is an officer in Frisco but used to work for the Rockwall Police Department.

The court determines another officer needs to be called before Officer Merritt.

Jury escorted out for 15 minute recess.

Defense and prosecution stay in the courtroom to question another officer outside the presence of the jury.

The state says on July 25, 1997 Sgt. Brad Merritt received a phone call from someone asking if the police department had received any reports of threats. The caller says, more specifically, she called her ex-husband and said she was going to find his wife in a dark alley and twist her head off. When Merritt tells the caller that's a serious threat, the caller hangs up. Then, on August 1, 1997 Cargill said, in the presence of a Rockwall police officer, that if she ever found Sonja West in a dark alley, she'd twist Sonja's head off. This phrase catches their attention because they'd heard about a fellow officer answering an anonymous call where someone said the same thing.

5 minute recess before bringing the jury back in.

Sgt. Merritt testifies that Cargill did not identify herself the first time she called.

State calls Brian Cargill, Kim's ex husband. Cargill and West were divorced in December 1995. He says his marriage to Kimberly was the worst time of his life.

Brian says they met in October, dated for three months, then Kimberly became pregnant and they married in June. Brian calls their time together tumultuous. He says they were not planning to get married until she became pregnant.

Brian talks about Kim's violent nature. He shows the jury photos of a time Kim threw a hammer into the wall when she was trying to throw it at him, but he ducked.

Brian tells the jury about times when Kim would punch Brian in the face...  like on Christmas.

He says when they were getting divorced Cargill initially had custody of their son until September 2006 when Brian got custody.

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