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Athens man seeks separate trials in murder, rape cases

Douglas Keith Carter

By Joe Johnson

An Athens man is seeking separate trials for the alleged murder of one woman in 2018 and the alleged assault and rape of another woman several months later.

Douglas Keith Carter, 56, was arrested by Athens-Clarke County police in January for allegedly killing 56-year-old Lisa Lawson Kilbury in August 2018 by “striking the victim multiple times with multiple objects,” according to an arrest warrant.

The same day he was arrested, police served Carter with additional warrants for allegedly sexually assaulting another woman five months after the alleged murder.

Police alleged that both crimes occurred in the same residence off Boley Drive residence where Carter lived with Kilbury when she allegedly was killed.

A Clarke County grand jury subsequently indicted Carter for malice and felony murder, rape, aggravated sodomy and four counts of aggravated assault, according to Superior Court records.

The residence where Kilbury was allegedly killed and the other woman allegedly sexually assaulted was 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 from an injured hip she suffered in a fall.

The murder warrant was signed and served on Jan. 9, soon after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Division of Forensic Sciences informed local authorities that Kilbury’s death had been ruled a homicide as the result of “multiple blunt force injuries.”

In his motion for separate trials, filed Friday in Clarke County Superior Court, defense attorney David Williams argues that there was no direct evidence that Carter caused Kilbury’s death.

“The only evidence against Defendant are the injuries sustained by Ms. Kilbury, which were not reported as the cause of death until the Medical Examiner spoke to investigators and issued a report six months after Ms. Kilbury’s death,” the attorney argued in the motion. “No evidence points to Defendant as the cause of Ms. Kilbury’s injuries other than proximity” due to them living together.

Williams noted in the motion that the first time Kilbury was checked out by EMS the day she died, she “made no indication that she had received injuries from Defendant.”

According to the attorney’s motion, Kilbury had been prescribed several medications for “multiple physical ailments and illnesses,” and that there was a note in the police department’s database that Kilbury had suicidal tendencies.

Seven months before she died, Williams stated in his motion, officers found Kilbury “in the woods stating that she wished to kill herself.”

There were not enough similarities between the alleged murdered and sexual assault to try both cases before the same jury, the defense attorney argues in his motion.

The alleged murder and sexual assault both involved the underlying offense of aggravated assault, Williams stated. “However, that is where the similarities end with regards to the allegations made in the two alleged incidents which are separated by five months or more,” he stated in the motion.

Williams argued there is a risk that jurors will be confused by many hours, or even days of medical testimony offered by the prosecution and defense to support and refute allegations that Kilbury was killed by suffering blunt force trauma.

Separate trials were warranted because the “the prejudice may be overwhelming” when jurors must consider sexual assault allegations concerning one victim after having heard allegations that Carter had murdered the other victim, according to the motion.

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