Trial: Heidi Carter will not testify, prosecutors and defense rest case

Content warning: This article contains references to sexual violence.

EVANSVILLE — The State of Indiana rested its case against Heidi Carter, who is accused of being an accessory to murder and rape, Tuesday afternoon following a judge's decision to rule hundreds of pages of Facebook records put forth by prosecutors inadmissible in court.

Carter's trial came to a close on just its second day, and the 37-year-old told the court she would not be testifying in her own defense at the advice of her counsel, attorney Barry Blackard.

Jurors heard testimony regarding DNA evidence Tuesday morning, reviewed police body camera footage and watched more than two hours of Carter's taped interrogation by an Evansville Police Department detective.

Day 1 Recap:Survivor in death, rape, kidnapping case describes 'sheer, blinding pain,' gruesome scene

Vanderburgh County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Emily Hall had hoped to close the state's presentation of evidence by discussing more than 600 pages of Carter's Facebook messages, but Circuit Court Judge David Kiely said prosecutors failed to properly certify the authenticity of the documents or account for prejudicial information contained therein.

After a testy back-and-forth with Hall, Kiely ruled the evidence inadmissible in court. The state soon rested its case, as did Carter's defense.

Evansville police arrested Carter on Oct. 19, 2021, after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a reported kidnapping and murder in the 1800 block of Stinson Avenue.

During her trial, Vanderburgh County Prosecutors accused Carter of directly aiding, and at times directing, her ex-boyfriend Carey David Hammond when he allegedly murdered 50-year-old Timothy Scott Ivy and repeatedly raped Ivy's girlfriend.

Following the murder of Ivy, prosecutors said Carter and Hammond kept his girlfriend restrained to a bed while she suffered from a serious head injury.

Police shot and killed Hammond when he emerged from Carter's Stinson Avenue residence holding what authorities thought was a gun. It turned out to be an object twisted into the shape of gun.

More:Heidi Kathleen Carter, suspect in Evansville murder, has violent criminal history

Tuesday's session followed powerful testimony from Ivy's surviving girlfriend, who took the stand Monday alongside Cynthia Weinzapfel, the woman who first alerted police to the alleged murder-kidnapping after she discovered Ivy's body buried under clutter inside Carter's residence.

Ivy's girlfriend told the jury Monday that Carter helped Hammond restrain the couple and held her at gunpoint while Hammond raped her, a claim Carter's defense attorney disputed during his opening arguments.

The interrogation

During the trial's second day, prosecutors sought to use Carter's own words to illustrate her alleged culpability.

Jurors reviewed more than two hours of Carter's taped police interrogation, which EPD Detective Steven Toney conducted shortly after Carter's arrest.

The footage showed Carter admitting to certain allegations, disputing others, and at time contradicting statements she uttered just minutes earlier. As the footage played on courtroom televisions, Carter watched intently as she rocked her chair back and forth.

Jurors watched and listened closely, too — the audio was at times distorted and difficult to understand.

"A lot of bad stuff happened in your house," Toney told Carter early in the interrogation. "We wouldn't be here if this wasn't a big deal."

The home in which a bizarre Oct. 20, 2021 murder, rape and kidnapping case unfolded on Stinson Avenue om Evansville's West Side.
The home in which a bizarre Oct. 20, 2021 murder, rape and kidnapping case unfolded on Stinson Avenue om Evansville's West Side.

When asked if she helped Hammond "in any way," Carter responded by saying, "I did, to a certain extent, because I didn't stop him."

Carter denied participating in any alleged "restraining" of Ivy or his girlfriend, but she also said she "pretended" to help Hammond restrain the couple.

"I didn't want her to be taped up or restrained," Carter told Toney during the interrogation. "Because that would hurt her."

Carter unequivocally denied ever pointing a gun at Ivy's girlfriend, and she denied encouraging Hammond to rape her.

When Toney began probing for information about Ivy's death, Carter is seen breaking down and crying. She said Hammond killed Ivy while she was out of the house, and that he told her over the phone there was "blood everywhere."

When she returned, Ivy's girlfriend reportedly told Carter that Hammond "beat" and "strangled" him to death.

Why Carter said she did not call 911

Toney asked Carter point blank why she never alerted authorities – It's a question that has loomed large over the trial, and the case in general.

Ivy's girlfriend testified that she was restrained to a bed for hours, and Carter said during the interrogation that she had the freedom to leave - and did indeed leave - the residence on multiple occasions, but yet she never dialed 911.

"He (Hammond) tied up and raped a girl in front of you," Toney told Carter. "Why didn't you call 911?"

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Carter's response to Toney's questions about a potential call for help were rambling, and often consisted of little more than sentence fragments.

At times, Carter said she was scared of Hammond. She "hated him," but also "loved him."

As the situation at the Stinson Avenue home progressed, Carter told Toney she thought about killing Hammond to free Ivy's girlfriend. But she couldn't pull the trigger.

Carter said she was free to leave the residence and travel to a job site, where she met up with her coworker, Weinzapfel, before the pair later returned to Carter's home.

At no point did Carter alert authorities to the continued captivity of Ivy's girlfriend or Ivy's murder.

"You could have called," Toney said.

Carter denies victim's allegations to police

As the interrogation continued, Toney confronted Carter about inconsistencies in her story.

The detective brought up an interview he conducted with Ivy's girlfriend as she lay recovering in Deaconess Midtown Hospital — how the traumatized woman said Carter assisted Hammond throughout the ordeal and openly discussed disposing of Ivy's body.

"The way she tells it, you were a lot more violent than you're telling me here," Toney said. "She's saying you helped him."

"But I didn't!" Carter retorted.

"Why would she tell me you had a gun?" Toney asked.

"I can be a very violent person if someone does something wrong," Carter said. "These people did nothing wrong. I could never hurt them."

The home in which a bizarre Oct. 20, 2021 murder, rape and kidnapping case unfolded on Stinson Avenue om Evansville's West Side. Bullet holes are marked on the windows.
The home in which a bizarre Oct. 20, 2021 murder, rape and kidnapping case unfolded on Stinson Avenue om Evansville's West Side. Bullet holes are marked on the windows.

Toney eventually left Carter alone in the interrogation room. She's seen curling up on the floor and resting her head atop her hoodie. When Toney returned, they discussed the death of Carter's brother, who she said died earlier that year in Indianapolis due to a fentanyl overdose.

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He had people around him when he used the drugs, she said. "Why didn't they just call 911?" she wondered aloud.

The interrogation then turned back to the issue of Carter's culpability.

"I think [Ivy's girlfriend] has no reason to lie," Toney said. "She was beaten, she was raped; I don't think she lied to me about anything... You did nothing to help them. You could have done a million other things; you are just as responsible as him (Hammond)."

Carter responded with disbelief.

"You think I'm the same as him?" she asked, incredulous. "You think I'm just like him."

Defense challenges evidence

At one point during Carter's interrogation, Toney tells her that police body camera footage captured her admitting to helping "hold someone or something down," which she vehemently denied ever saying.

When Blackard cross-examined Toney, he inquired about this supposed footage, asking why it was not entered into evidence.

Toney did not know, but he testified that the footage was real. He heard about it and watched it at EPD headquarters, he said. Still, prosecutors never produced the footage, which could have proved damning to Carter's defense.

Prosecutors did attempt to produce additional evidence Tuesday afternoon, however, just before the state rested its case.

While Hall questioned Toney, the deputy prosecutor approached the witness stand with a stack of documents — more than 600 pages of Carter's and Hammond's Facebook correspondence.

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Toney said he compiled the messages from more than 27,000 pages of records Facebook produced in response to a subpoena. Facebook certified the authenticity of the records it delivered, but prosecutors lacked certifications showing Toney accurately transcribed and compiled the new, shortened version.

Blackard objected to the evidence, and Kiely halted proceedings while the jury could be ushered out of the courtroom.

Carter's attorney argued the massive trove of messages included prejudicial and irrelevant information, a position Kiely appeared to agree with.

The judge went back and forth with Hall, who said Toney's compilation was just as legitimate as the larger cache of files delivered by Facebook — she printed out the original certification of authenticity.

But Kiely said the condensed transcripts were compiled and created by a law enforcement officer and lacked official certifications showing his work was accurate. He sustained Blackard's objection.

"There's prejudicial information in what's prepared," Kiely said. "There's no certification that it is accurate; I'm not going to permit it."

Closing arguments set for Wednesday

The state would rest its case soon after Kiely ruled the Facebook documents were inadmissible. Hall asked Toney one final question seeking to clear up an inconsistency about the park where Ivy and his girlfriend originally planned to meet Carter.

It was Howell Park, on Evansville's West Side, Toney testified. The state, unable to present the Facebook correspondence, rested its case.

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Blackard briefly cross-examined Toney about the body camera footage before disclosing that Carter decided she would not testify in her own defense. Then, Carter's defense rested, too.

Kiely allowed jurors to stay for one extra hour to review some of the more than 100 pieces of evidence associated with Carter's case.

Wednesday morning, jurors will get a little extra time to review the evidence ahead of closing arguments. Kiely told both the state and the defense to be present in the courtroom by 8:30 a.m.

Houston Harwood can be contacted at with story ideas and questions. Twitter: @houston_whh.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Heidi Carter will not testify in Evansville murder, rape, kidnapping