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State rests in College Hill Park murder trial

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 5:06 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, June 26, 2014, at 8:39 a.m.

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Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the trial of a Wichita man charged with murder in a stabbing death in College Hill Park that Wichita police said was a case of vigilante justice.

Kyle A. Carter, 31, is standing trial in the death of Carl A. Cooper, a 34-year-old parolee who was chased down by two men after breaking into a BMW on the morning of Sept. 8. Carter admits chasing Cooper but contends that his co-defendant, Trenton H. Custer, 35, is the one who stabbed him. Custer is scheduled to stand trial in July.

Among the witnesses testifying Wednesday was Michelle Wilmore, who owned the BMW.

She said she was living in the 400 block of South Clifton at the time and had asked the men to come over to help her clean her house. The men showed up about 3 a.m., she said, about the time she noticed on a security camera that someone was inside her car.

Wilmore told police that she was yelling for help as she went outside to confront the burglary, and she said Carter and Custer went after him. Both men were unusually quiet after they came back, Wilmore said. She said Carter finally told her, “We caught him, and I don’t think he’s going to rob you again.”

Wilmore said it was hours later that she finally was told someone had been stabbed.

Also testifying was Sedgwick County Coroner Jamie Oberst, who said Cooper sustained three stab wounds, one of which penetrated several organs. Prosecutors said Cooper’s DNA was found on the cuticles of Carter’s left hand and on a knife that was found in a pickup that Custer was driving when he was stopped by police shortly after the stabbing.

The trial is being held in the courtroom of District Judge Warren Wilbert.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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