FAYETTEVILLE — Circuit Judge John Hatcher struck down two motions by Fayette County assistant prosecutor Brian Parsons and granted a third Wednesday in the ongoing preparation for Robert Eugene Carroll’s trial for allegedly murdering his estranged wife in 1986.

Hatcher denied Parsons’ motion to use computer-generated technology in his closing argument that portrays an animated version of what eight witnesses say they saw on the day of the homicide. Hatcher, Sheriff Bill Laird, Parsons and defense attorney Ed Rebrook took time out to watch a portion of the 20-minute CD-ROM presentation on Parsons’ laptop computer.

Rebrook argued jurors should only consider what they see for themselves at the crime scene itself. “I can’t cross-examine that tape. The jury must hear the testimony of witnesses,” he added.

“The state is doing nothing more than it could do on a chalkboard. This is an aid to coincide and put in perspective what they saw and heard on the stand,” Parsons countered.

In rejecting the request, Hatcher expressed concerns the technology could cause jurors to place undue emphasis or importance on some testimony at the expense of other points of view.

“I don’t think it’s a good replication of what the jury will have seen and heard. It’s an over-simplification and over-amplification, and gives more emphasis to testimony than I think would be fair, proper and balanced to both sides. I’m not going to let you use it,” he declared.

Parsons’ wish to continue the trial from March 23 to March 26 — from a Friday to a Monday — for reasons of expense to the state in providing a weekend of lodging for its witnesses was also turned down.

“I intend to start on that date (March 23). We will pick a jury on Friday (March 23) and make opening statements on Monday,” Hatcher insisted, at which time Parsons withdrew his motion.

Without objection from Carroll or Rebrook, Hatcher approved a motion by Parsons to use as evidence a statement Carroll gave to police during the initial investigation into Cathy Faye Carroll’s death. Carroll assured Hatcher the statement was given voluntarily.

“Get that to him today,” was Hatcher’s reaction to Rebrook’s claims that Parsons had not provided him with either a copy of that statement or a copy of the videotape showing Carroll’s stepdaughter — a key witness for the state — being interviewed by a psychiatrist in Pittsburgh 20 years ago.

Carroll, 62, also complained of not receiving his medication in a timely manner at South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, where he is being held, and Hatcher advised Laird to make sure the purported situation was rectified. Hatcher added he would schedule a hearing soon to hear Rebrook’s motion to dismiss the case against his client.

Prosecutors now portray Carroll as an accomplice rather than the actual killer, now alleged to be Eddie Queen, 59, of Cross Lanes. Queen was arrested in October on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault.

— E-mail: mhill@register-herald.com

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