Prosecution Rests Case In Punishment Phase Of Cargill Trial
By DAYNA WORCHEL
Prosecutors rested their capital murder case against a Whitehouse woman on Friday, and defense attorneys Brett Harrison and Jeff Haas will begin presenting their testimony on Tuesday morning.
A Smith County jury in the 241st District Court convicted Kimberly Cargill, 45, one week ago of killing her mentally challenged babysitter, Cherry Walker. Ms. Cargill took the witness stand last week to say that Ms. Walker had a seizure and died while the two drove in her car on June 18, 2010. The defendant testified that she had panicked, dumped Ms. Walker's body and set it on fire on County Road 2191.
Ms. Walker had been subpoenaed to testify against the defendant in a child custody hearing June 23, 2010. Evidence began in the trial on May 7. Ms. Cargill could be sentenced to death.
A group of Smith County jailers, including Smith County Deputy Chief Gary Pinkerton, testified about the problems Ms. Cargill had caused for jailers and other inmates since her incarceration there in June 2010.
Pinkerton said Ms. Cargill had been moved to almost every cell within the women's section of the Smith County Jail. The defendant is now confined in a side cell, which is for violent offenders or for those who have problems with the guards, Pinkerton testified.
The deputy chief said the defendant interfered with the running of the jail by telling other inmates they didn't have to listen to guards.
Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham displayed for the jury a small needle and a piece of metal that had been removed from Ms. Cargill's cell as contraband. He testified that the needle could be used as a weapon by being stuck into an officer's eye.
"If you had a jail full of Cargills, how would you operate?" Bingham asked Pinkerton.
"It would be a nightmare," he responded.
Cpl. Bobbie Maxey of the Smith County Jail testified that all of the jailers keep written records detailing their interactions with Ms. Cargill.
"We have to document everything because she tends to turn everything around and blame it on the person who is dealing with her," Cpl. Maxey said.
Smith County jailer Sheila Elder said dealing with Ms. Cargill was like "being on a rollercoaster ride -- strap yourself in because you're in for a bumpy ride."
After some run-ins with the defendant after she was jailed, Ms. Elder said she made up her mind July 9, 2011, that she would not let Cargill dictate to her how she would feel about her job.
After Ms. Elder said that the defendant would frequently refuse to eat, Bingham asked Ms. Elder why the jailers would not just leave her without food.
"Because she (Ms. Cargill) is a human being and not an animal -- and I refuse to treat her like one," Ms. Elder responded.
She added that she thought people could change.