By Joe Johnson
A Clarke County jury recently acquitted an Athens man on charges he murdered a woman with whom he lived in 2018.
After a weeklong trial in Clarke County Superior Court, the jury on Friday found 58-year-old Douglas Keith Carter not guilty of malice and felony in murder in the death of 56-year-old Lisa Lawson Kilbury.
The jury found Carter guilty on a charge of aggravated assault for, according to an indictment, repeatedly beating Kilbury with an object that resulted in” blunt trauma to her head and neck, rib fractures, contusions covering a significant portion of her body, a lacerated spleen and kidney contusion.”
David Lyle, director of external affairs for District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, said that “we won’t be making a statement” about the trial.
Chief Western Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Eric Norris, who presided over the trial, set a May 6 sentencing date.
A second trial for Carter looms on charges he allegedly raped another woman at the same location where Kilbury died.
When Athens-Clarke County police arrested Carter for Kilbury’s death in January 2019, they also served him with additional warrants for allegedly sexually assaulting the other woman in the same Boley Drive dwelling where Kilbury died.
The same grand jury that charged Carter with murdering Kilbury, charged the defendant with rape, aggravated sodomy and four counts of aggravated assault, according to the indictment. Court documents alleged that Carter would become violent when drinking and if a woman denied him sex.
Carter’s attorney, David Williams, was granted a motion to sever the murder from the rape case.
Williams argued in the motion the offenses from the two cases “were joined for the improper purpose of injecting evidence of bad character against (Carter.)”
The motion argued, "The evidence on counts one and two involving murder and aggravated assault would not be admissible in a trial on counts four through eight alleging sexual assault, and vice versa.”
The residence where Kilbury died and the other woman sexually assaulted was described by officials as a two-room dwelling in a pasture with goats behind a house in the 400 block of Boley Drive.
Carter reportedly had been homeless prior to moving in with Kilbury at that location a year prior to her death.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, Kilbury’s lifeless body was found the afternoon of Aug. 30, 2018 after Carter called 911 to report the woman was not breathing. The coroner pronounced her dead at the scene.
Carter reportedly had called 911 earlier that same day to report that Kilbury was complaining of extreme pain, but the woman refused treatment.
The murder warrant was signed and served on Jan. 9, 2019, the same day Carter was charged with allegedly raping the other woman, and soon after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Division of Forensic Sciences informed local authorities that Kilbury’s death had been ruled a homicide.