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Day 6 of sentencing in Kimberly Cargill murder trial

Published: May. 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2012 at 2:08 PM CDT
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Testimony continues today in the punishment phase for an East Texas murderer.

45-year-old Kimberly Cargill of Whitehouse was found guilty of killing her babysitter and now faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty. On Friday a number of Smith County jailers took the stand to testify against Cargill.

KLTV's Melanie Torre will be in the courtroom to bring us live updates on the trial throughout the day.

Cargill Sentencing Day 6

Judge Skeen swears in the following 5 witnesses on behalf of the defense:

Antoinette McGarrahan

Jonathan Lipman

S.O. Woods

Jennifer Spurger

Jeffrey Terrell

Defense begins opening statement by thanking the jury for their time in this very time consuming case. "You've heard a common theme. That Kim Cargill can go from normal to out of control in matter of seconds," defense attorney Brett Harrison says. He also says many witnesses also said they thought something was wrong with Kim Cargill.

Harrison says the witnesses today will testify that Cargill has borderline personality disorder, lupus and Crohn's disease.

Harrison tells the jury they are about to make the most important decision of their lived and what they decide will stay with them forever.

He tells the jury the information they're about to hear is crucial to their decision making.

Defense calls Jeff Terrell. Terrell is a manager at Quality Cleaners. Quality Cleaners is where Harrison takes dry cleaning for clients, like Kim Cargill. Terrell testifies a little pin is used to keep blouses, like Cargill's on the hanger. He identifies the sharp object that was found in Cargill's cell as one of his dry cleaning pins. Terrell does say the pin could inflict injury in someone wanted to use it to do so.

Defense calls Jennifer Spurger. Spurger is a runner for the law firm where Cargill's attorneys work. Spurger testifies that she picks up the dry cleaving and drops it off at the jail. She says she takes it directly from the cleaner to the jailer and never changes, touches or removes anything.

Defense calls Antoinette McGarrahan. McGarrahan is a forensic psychologist in Dallas.  She has met and evaluated Cargill.

McGarrahan says her interview with Cargill was several hours long. She lists out all of the different tests she could perform on Cargill.

McGarrahan says she administered the memory malingering test. She says this test shows if someone is being honest when being asked cognitive questions. McGarrahan says the test showed Cargill was putting forth her best effort. McGarrahan goes over about 10 different tests she gave Cargill. She says Cargill performed average or better than average on most of the tests. McGarrahan says Cargill's IQ is 114 which is high-average. The Wisconsin Card Sorting test showed Cargill had difficulties with problem solving.Cargill performed less than average on a category test and a test evaluating her ability to stay focused for an extended period of time. McGarrahan says one of Cargill's test results shows she lacks empathy for others, is easily angered, has significant problems with social relationships, can be manipulative, is compulsive and doesn't think about the consequences of her actions.

McGarrahan says she believes Cargill has borderline personality disorder with narcissistic and antisocial tendencies.

McGarrahan explains the borderline personality disorder traits include significant interpersonal relationship difficulties and fluctuating mood. She says people with this disorder also feel chronically empty and always seek companionship. She says people with this disorder also fear abandonment and produce threats to keep their significant other from leaving them. McGarrahan says chronic anger and sometimes violence are traits associated with this disorder. McGarrahan says people with narcissistic personality disorder feel entitled, act very demanding and have difficulties with remorse and empathy. McGarrahan says someone with antisocial traits has a tendency to be arrested frequently because of their impulsivity and manipulative nature.

McGarrahan explains what a sociopath is. She says a sociopath and a psychopath are one in the same. She says they're very superficial and their emotions are short lived. She says psychopaths have similar traits as people with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders but are much scarier because they can easily blend into society and make great first impressions.

McGarrahan says Cargill has a moderate level of characteristics that would label her as a psychopath.

McGarrahan testifies that a person can develop this disorder as a result of genetics and being emotionally abandoned at a young age. McGarragan says 1-5% of the population has borderline personality disorder. 

Defense passes the witness.

McGarrahan clarifies that Cargill has a mental disorder, not a mental illness. McGarrahan says Cargill has a psychiatric condition. McGarrahan says disorder is not necessarily better or worse than an illness. She says it depends on how the words are being defined. McGarrahan says Cargill's symptoms can be treated but not necessarily the disorder. McGarrahan testifies that the disorder Cargill has will stay with her until she dies. McGarrahan says Cargill is not bipolar.

McGarrahan testifies Cargill is of above average intelligence and she believes Cargill understands right from wrong.

The state goes over the history of medications Cargill was taking back in 2010.

Recess for jury until 2pm.

The jury is escorted out of the courtroom so the court can address the testimony of Jonathan Lipman.

Lipman is called to the stand. Lipman's education took place for the most part in England. He studied biology and pharmacology.

Lipman says he hopes to educate the jury about the effects of the drugs Cargill was taking and the effects of stopping taking the drug.

The State asks Lipman how he can testify that the drugs Cargill took had an effect on Cargill's actions if he has never met with Cargill before and cannot testify that Cargill even took the drugs.

Lipman says his testimony is relevant because he can tell the jury the effects the drug can have on someone who has a personality disorder.

State maintains that Lipman doesn't know if Cargill was even taking the medication she was prescribed.

State addresses an article where the board (American College of Forensic Examiners International) Lipman is apart of became "under fire," according to a New York Times article. State asks Lipman if he knew that the founder of ACFEI started the group in his house with his two young children as the first board members. Lipman says he was not aware and is still not aware.

The state refers to a notice sent to the American Bar Association stating the man who started the organization Lipman claims to be a part of, provides last minute expert witnesses for trials in exchange for financial compensation.

State asks Lipman if the ACFEI is even a legitimate organization. Lipman says it may not sound legitimate but it is because the department of homeland security and the US postal inspectors utilize the ACFEI for forensic training.

Lipman and the state go back and forth for a moment making sarcastic comments toward each other until the judge steps in and asks them to stop.

State asks Lipman if his testimony is more or less a general testimony about the effects of the drug, not specifically Cargill's effects. Lipman says yes but it is more specific than that.

State says they do not want Lipman excluded as a witness but also do not want him testifying that the taking of the medications Cargill took in combination with autoimmune deficiency diseases could result in psychosis.

Defense thinks the psychosis is fair game. Judge says it is not because McGarrahan's expert testimony showed Cargill did not suffer from psychosis.

The jury is brought back in and Lipman takes the stand again. Lipman tells the jury he went to school in England and Tennessee. Lipman says he taught at the college level in Memphis and Johnson City, Tennessee. Lipman explains his role in neural pharmacology. He says he teaches students and medical residents how specific drugs act on the brain. Lipman says the effects of a drug depend on genetics, medical disorders and mental disorders.

State and defense consult at the judge's bench for about 7 minutes.

Lipman testifies that he was contacted to testify by the defense in this case. He says he has never spoken to Kim Cargill before and only knows what he knows about the case through medical records provided to him by the defense.

The defense asks Lipman about Prednisone, a medication Cargill was prescribed. Lipman says Prednisone is often prescribed for people, like Cargill, who have supposedly been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and/or Lupus.

Defense asks if Lipman has information that throughout Cargill's life... State objects due to records being considered hearsay because they are not Lipman's records. The objection is sustained.

Defense asks if the medication Cargill was prescribed would have a psychiatric effect on her since she has borderline personality disorder. Lipman says Prednisone can cause someone to have mixed mood episodes, cognitive problems, mania, among other things.

Lipman testifies that a person with a mental disorder is more vulnerable to the adverse effects of the medication. Lipman says he cannot testify to Cargill's effects in particular because he did not see her while she was on the drugs.

Solexir is a modern Prozac that takes several weeks for its depression lowering effect to take place. Lipman says Cargill was also taking Chlonapin.

Lipman says their are adverse side effects when someone takes Chlonapin and when someone stops taking the drug. Lipman says if someone has been on the drug for two weeks or longer they will have withdrawals if not taken off the medication slowly. Lipman says because the drug is used to fight shyness and anxiety, if it is stopped suddenly, it will cause anxiety more severe than before the drug was taken. It may also cause violence.

Lipman says stopping Solexir (sp?) suddenly also results in adverse side effects that are more extreme in people with psychiatric disorders. Lipman says the depression the drug is intended to treat will return quickly.

State asks to consult at the judge's bench.

Defense asks Lipman if he is an expert on how certain drugs effect the brain and result in behavior changes.

Defense asks if the drugs could cause someone to "go 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds." Lipman says the drugs Cargill was taking could cause impulsivity and mania.

State begins questioning Lipman again and Lipman refers to a particular study. The state asks Lipman if he remembers earlier today when the judge asked him not to refer to that study and why he did it anyway. Defense object and asks to consult at the judge's bench.

State asks if Lipman is testifying under a license. Lipman says he does not a have license because one is not necessary for his line of work.

State asks Lipman if it's his place to be testifying when he has no licenses in the state of Texas, is not a psychologist, psychiatrist or a doctor. Lipman replies, "That's a legal question. I'd allow you to answer that."

The State begins going over Lipman's involvement in the American College of Forensic Examiners and how a New York Times article states all you have to do for admission to ACFEI is submit your name, address and payment. The State asks Lipman if he is familiar with an advertisement claiming, "If you need an expert fast and you have enough money, order an expert from the ACFEI."

Lipman tells the state despite their attempts to discredit the American College of Forensic Examiners, it really is a fine organization. Judge Skeen tells Lipman he may only answer the questions asked and cannot add sidebar comments.

The State asks Lipman if he knows Cargill was taking any medication at all. Lipman says he cannot testify to anything Cargill was or wasn't doing.

Lipman says he is being paid $275/hour to be a witness in this case.

Lipman says you can't drive on Clonapin (sp?). The state tells Lipman you obviously can because Kim Cargill drove to a deserted road, dumped a body, set it on fire and drove away. Lipman clarifies: by state law you're not allowed to drive a vehicle. Lipman says he was under the impression Cargill was coming off of the drug at the time of the offense.

Judge calls for a 15-minute recess.

Neurological doctor is still on the stand. The defense begins by asking the doctor what would happen if someone had auto-immune disease, a personality disorder, and was taking prepazon, Clonapin and Cilaxia.
The doctor said that person's brain would be a neurochemical stew.


Bingham took over and asked the doctor to elaborate on what that means. The doctor said it would mean multiple neurological manipulations happening at once. The doctor is released.

Corporal Hillary Lynn Sahimi, Smith County jailer, is called to the stand.

Defense asks if Sahimi has dealt with Cargill frequently in the past two years. She says yes.

Defense asks if Cargill is a high-maintenance inmate. Sahimi says yes, but Cargill does not cause other problems in the jail.

Defense asks if Sahimi got along with Cargill. She says yes.

Bingham takes over and asks if Cargill got along with other jailers. Sahimi says some.

Sahimi is released.

Another jailer is called to the stand: Pamela Williams.

Defense asks if Williams knows Cargill. She says yes.

Defense asks if she has had any problems with her in their daily interactions. Williams said no.

Bingham takes over and asks if Cargill was nicer to Williams than the other jailers. Williams said she didn't know.

Bingham asks if a pin was ever found in Cargill's cell. Williams said she didn't know.

Williams is released.

Defense calls Janice Barrett, a Smith County jailer, to the stand.

Defense asks if Barrett had frequent contact with Cargill. She says yes.

Defense asked if she had ever written Cargill up. She says no. She said the only problem she ever had with Cargill was over the mail. She explained that Cargill did not want Barrett going through her legal mail from her lawyer. Barrett said she explained to Cargill that she had to go through her mail to make sure there were no contraband items inside, but they do not read their letters. Once Cargill understood that, she had no more problems with her.

Bingham took over. He asks if Barrett knew about the pin found in Cargill's cell. She said she knew about it but she was not the person that wrote her up.

Bingham asked if Barrett ever discussed the case with Cargill. She said no.

Bingham asked if she ever fed her information. She said no.

Bingham asked her if she ever told Cargill when another jailer, Bobby Maxy, was on and off shift. She laughed, then said no. Bingham asked what was so funny? Barrett said she knew that Bobby is the one who has been saying that and it is not true.

Bingham asked if Barrett had ever seen a cross drawn on Cargill's cell wall with the words, "Maxy is evil" written on it. She said yes and that she advised Cargill to take it down.

Defense took over again and asked Barrett if she volunteered to watch Cargill on the five minute watches. She said yes. Bingham then asked her to clarify what that meant. She said that no one ever wanted to do the five minute watches so she would volunteer to. Barrett was then released.

The court will resume tomorrow at 8:30.

Note: The American College of Forensic Examiners is actually the American College of Forensic Examiners International. Their acronym is ACFEI, not ACFE as previously abbreviated and reported.

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