Woman, 18, IDs man as slayer of his wife

Claim can’t be proved, defense says

9/5/2013
BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Carter
Carter

The defense attorney for Robert F. Carter told a jury Wednesday that prosecutors would not be able to prove it was his client who shot and killed Carter’s estranged wife on Christmas Eve.

The first witness to testify in Carter’s aggravated murder trial 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.

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.

She said that as her mother lay in the street, Carter fired three more shots at close range, then left in a dark-colored car she had seen him driving before.

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

Judge Myron Duhart offers tissues to Keisha Boykin, 18, as she breaks down while testifying in the trial of Robert F. Carter. Carter is accused of killing her mother, Wendabi Triplett, 41.
Judge Myron Duhart offers tissues to Keisha Boykin, 18, as she breaks down while testifying in the trial of Robert F. Carter. Carter is accused of killing her mother, Wendabi Triplett, 41.

“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. “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 victim’s brother, Marvin Sutton, and younger son, Walter Boykin, also were in Ms. Triplett’s car that night but could not identify the shooter, he said. Mr. Sutton will testify that the shooter was wearing a ski mask, which differs from Miss Boykin’s account.

Miss Boykin testified that Carter had nothing covering his face other than the distinctive full beard he could be seen with in court. He was wearing a black hoodie, dark blue jeans, and black shoes, she said. He did not say anything, she said.

Testimony is to resume at 8:30 a.m. today.

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