In disturbing court testimony Monday in Waynesboro Circuit Court, the victim in an alleged rape and abduction case recalled telling her attacker, “I’ll do anything to see my daughter again, just please don’t kill me.”
In the first day of Brad Carter’s two-day jury trial, eight different witnesses testified for the commonwealth in what Waynesboro Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elysse Stolpe described in opening statements as “a case about obsession and control.”
Carter, 36, of Waynesboro, faces six felony charges stemming from an Easter-weekend incident in 2019 — rape, malicious wounding, abduction and three counts of strangulation. The victim in the case testified Monday that Carter, who she was living with and dating at the time, accused her of being on drugs and cheating. After returning to their Waynesboro apartment in the early morning hours of April 21, 2019, the victim told the court that “as soon as [she] opened the door, he took complete control.”
“I was scared, but I could still talk and breathe a little bit. He kept tightening his grip until I couldn’t breathe,” the Waynesboro woman told the court of reportedly being strangled. “Those last few seconds before you blackout are terrifying. I thought I was going to die.”
The victim’s more than hour-long testimony continued to detail waking up to having her wrists zip tied, having a drink dumped on her, being choked two more times, and having urine-soaked socks placed in her mouth.
The victim continued to describe the following day, where she testified she was able to convince Carter to allow her to return a rental car. The victim reportedly returned the rental car while Carter followed her “so close that Bluetooth was trying to connect from her phone in his car.”
After returning the car, Carter allegedly drove the pair down Interstate 81 toward the Raphine area while hitting the victim with a flashlight when she attempted to exit the vehicle. She then testified Carter pulled into a dumpster site to dispose of the zip ties and urine-soaked socks.
“I really thought he was going to kill me,” she recalled of pulling into the dumpster site.
Carter returned the pair to Waynesboro, where the victim testified Carter said: “We’re going to have sex.” When the victim said no, she testified Carter replied: “Do you really want to find out what happens if you keep saying no?”
When asked by Stolpe what she was feeling during the sexual assault, the victim said, “that I was going to die.”
The weekend-long incident concluded after the victim was permitted to attend work on Monday where her supervisor observed significant bruising and took her to the Waynesboro Police Department.
Carter’s defense attorney, Benjamin Thurman, presented a different version in opening statements as a “deeply dysfunctional relationship” and “false allegations.”
Thurman pointed out discrepancies in the victim’s timeline from preliminary testimony in October 2019 to her trial testimony, as well as questioned why she didn’t ask for help when returning the rental car or attempt to escape. The victim repeated several times that she was scared.
Thurman also presented sexually explicit text messages between the pair from the week before the incident. The victim testified she would say things “to get him to stop messaging me.”
In addition to the victim’s testimony, jurors heard from seven others, including her work supervisor, Waynesboro police officers and Augusta Health nurses.
Two Waynesboro police officers testified Monday that when they asked Carter if he put anything in the victim’s mouth, he said, “Let me guess, she said I put dirty socks in her mouth?” Both also testified that Carter denied strangling the victim and reported that she hit herself with the flashlight and choked herself with rope.
One of the two forensic nurses who testified Monday described the extent of the victim’s injuries at length, citing the victim came in with a bruised forehead, swollen neck, lip laceration, abrasions on the chest, and additional bruising on her abdomen and thighs.
The trial will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Waynesboro Circuit Court, where Carter is expected to testify. The trial is expected to wrap up Tuesday.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673). The Waynesboro Police Department is located at 250 S. Wayne Ave, Suite 102, and can be reached at (540) 942-6675. In an emergency, dial 911.