TOLEDOAN ON TRIAL

Murder defendant calls death accident

Man says woman stepped into knife

9/19/2012
BY ERICA BLAKEĀ 
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Charles Toyer, 21, is charged with one count of murder in the March stabbing death of his girlfriend, Tiffany Wilborn, a mother of two. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.
Charles Toyer, 21, is charged with one count of murder in the March stabbing death of his girlfriend, Tiffany Wilborn, a mother of two. He faces up to life in prison if he is convicted.

When emergency crews arrived at a Western Avenue apartment in March, Tiffany Wilborn was lying in the front yard — not breathing, with no pulse and with a stab wound through her heart.

But whether Ms. Wilborn was intentionally stabbed by her live-in boyfriend and the father of one of her two children — or walked into the knife herself — is a decision for a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury.

Charles Toyer, Jr. 21, is charged with one count of murder in the March 11 stabbing death of Ms. Wilborn. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Seven witnesses testified during the first day of testimony. Additional testimony is expected today. 

In opening statements, Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Liptack-Wilson told the jury of nine women and three men that Mr. Toyer took an ordinary steak knife found in the kitchen of the apartment that the couple shared and stabbed Ms. Wilborn in the chest. 

He thrust the knife so deeply, Ms. Liptack-Wilson said, that it nearly perforated the spine. “Tiffany's death was not suicide, it was not an accident. Tiffany Wilborn was killed, and her murderer was Charles Toyer,” she said.

Attorney Richard Kerger countered in opening statements the couple were quarreling that night and Ms. Wilborn was angry. He told jurors Mr. Toyer picked up a knife and told his girlfriend to stop, saying he would puncture her car tires. “Suddenly, without warning, she stepped … right into the knife,” Mr. Kerger said. 

Toledo police Detective Kermit Quinn testified that he questioned Mr. Toyer within a few hours of  the stabbing but did not tell him Ms. Wilborn had died.

Detective Quinn testified that Mr. Toyer told him in a recorded interview that Ms. Wilborn stepped into the knife he was holding. He said that contradicted  information Mr. Toyer gave 911 operators, which was that Ms. Wilborn accidentally stabbed herself.

The nearly hour-long recorded interview was played for jurors, as was a 911 tape that depicted a hysterical Mr. Toyer calling for help. Also played for jurors was a call Mr. Toyer made from  jail to a woman whom he said he intended to marry, during which he said Ms. Wilborn “charged” into the knife.

Mr. Toyer showed little emotion as the recordings were played.

Members of the police department's scientific investigation unit spoke about the crime scene and evidence collected. Responding police officers and medical personnel also testified.

The trial resumes today with Detective Quinn on the witness stand. Judge Dean Mandros is presiding. 

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.