Capital Murder Trial Opens With Graphic Testimony

Prosecutors opened their case with graphic testimony and photos Tuesday in the capital murder trial of a Central Texas man accused of killing his estranged wife and kidnapping her daughter.

Us Carnell Petetan (Jail photo)

WACO (April 15, 2014) Kimberly Farr Petetan's family left the courtroom Tuesday as prosecutors flashed graphic pictures of the Gatesville native's on a screen in a Waco state district courtroom during the first day of the capital murder trial of the man they say shot her to death and abducted her daughter in 2012.

Us Carnell Petetan is on trial for his life charged in her brutal shooting death.

The day began with opening statements from both prosecutors and defense attorneys and then quickly moved into testimony from state's witnesses.

Waco police Officer Rebecca Diaz was first to take the stand in Judge Ralph Strother's courtroom, where she described getting a call to investigate gunfire at a north Waco apartment complex.

When officers arrived at The Landing apartments, she testified, she found 44-year-old Kimberly Farr Petetan's body lying in a pool of blood.

Other officers who arrived shortly later testified the body was lying on a tile floor just inside the apartment door.

Neighbors told them a man left the scene with a child.

As prosecutors showed graphic photos of the crime scene and Kimberly Farr Petetan's body, the nature of the pictures was too much for her family to bear and they all left the courtroom.

But when prosecutors finished the photo show, the family returned to listen to more testimony.

The afternoon was no less trying for the victim’s family, however, as a crime scene technician described what she found at the scene and more photographs were shown including close-ups of the wounds.

Relatives bowed their heads and one left the courtroom.

The testimony of Medical Examiner Chester Gwen was equally graphic and included photos of the victim’s nude body.

Petetan looked away and dabbed his nose with a tissue and some of the victim’s relatives wept quietly.

Gwen detailed his findings and said he found bruises on her body that she received as long as a week before she was killed.

Prosecutors maintain that Petetan forced his way into the victim’s apartment by asking another man to knock on the door as he crouched out of sight, and then pulled a gun on his estranged wife and took her upstairs.

They say he then forced Kimberly and her daughter to get into his truck and made her drive to a local motel where two other men were waiting.

The two men got into the bed of the pickup and they drove back to the apartment where Petetan and Kimberly argued upstairs while the other two men and the girl waited downstairs, they say.

That’s when they say Petetan shot her.

He then fled to Bryan, where he was arrested after a traffic stop.

The 9-year-old girl, who was with him, was not injured.

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