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Published: Wednesday, 9/4/2013

Witness ID's defendant Carter in murder trial

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The first witness to take the stand in Robert F. Carter’s aggravated murder trial today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court said she was “100 percent sure” it was Carter she saw pull the trigger, killing Wendabi Triplett, 41, as she got out of her car in the 4400 block of Terrace View Street last Christmas Eve.

Keisha Boykin, 18, told the jury she was in the back seat of her mother’s car when she heard the gunfire.

“I slid out the car,” Miss Boykin said. “I stood to the left looking toward [my mother’s car] door, and that’s when I saw Robert.”

“I seen my Mom fall,” Miss Boykin said, fighting back tears.

Carter, 44, of 1143 Belmont Ave., was married to Ms. Triplett for a few years, and was upset over the fact that she had recently moved her and her children out of the house, Andy Lastra, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the jury in opening statements.

“He was upset over the fact that Wendabi Triplett had left him,” Mr. Lastra said, adding that a close friend of the victim would testify Carter had threatened Ms. Triplett, who worked at the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital.

“On one of those occasions she will tell you the defendant said he would rather slit her throat than grant her a divorce,” Mr. Lastra said. “On another occasion he said, ‘I’d rather that she be dead than I give her a divorce.’”

Defense attorney Merle Dech said the state must prove it was Carter who pulled the trigger and killed his estranged wife.

“Identification is the key here,” Mr. Dech said. “We feel that the state will not be able to prove its case due to a questionable identification.”

The trial resumes Thursday.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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