Karey’s wife claims pastor ‘controlled’ her
She also testified that victim had raped her for 14 years prior to fatal shooting
The wife of a man on trial for manslaughter testified Monday in state district court, saying she was raped for 14 years and was “controlled” by the man her husband shot in 2013.
Woodrow Karey Jr., 58, is accused of walking into Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center during a revival service on Sept. 27, 2013, and shooting Ronald J. Harris, 51, twice with a shotgun.
The prosecution has said that Harris was having an affair with Karey’s wife; the defense has said that Karey’s wife was raped by Harris.
Earlier witnesses told of how the two men were once so close that they were “like brothers.”
Before court was halted by Judge Clayton Davis on Monday so the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal could consider an appeal by the defense regarding evidence it wants included that Davis previously ruled could not be used, Janet Karey testified for a couple of hours.
Tentative and soft-spoken, Karey told jurors she served on the “Pastor’s Aide Committee” at church and would help raise money for Harris and his family. She said not long after she joined the committee, Harris called her to his office one day.
“In 1999, Pastor Harris asked me to come in and he told me he wanted me to be a good friend, his best friend,” she said. “He told me to stand up and he hugged me. Then he unzipped his pants, raised my skirt, and put his penis inside me. I pulled back and said, ‘No,’ and he said. ‘That’s OK. That’s the kind of friend I am. But it’s OK. I’m going to call your husband.”
Karey said she did not know what he was going to tell her husband but when she got home, she said he had called Woodrow Karey and asked him to teach a Bible study at the church.
Defense attorney Adam Johnson asked her about the week of the shooting and texts that Harris had mistakenly sent to Woodrow Karey instead of to Karey’s wife.
“I was shaking when he showed me the texts,” she said. “I told my husband, ‘Let’s send it to the pastor’s wife’ and we did.” Texts that had been sent by Harris included ones with vulgar language as well as one that said: “You and your family will suffer.”
She said Harris was “saying all of these things because there were troubles in the church and they were broke.”
Janet Karey told Johnson that after her husband received the texts, she told him “the pastor had been raping me and beating me and Pastor had told me if I ever told my husband he would blow his (expletive) brains out. I told my husband that the pastor had also told me he would reveal naked photos he had taken of me if I ever told anyone.”
She said she also told her husband that “The pastor came here, too. To our home. And he raped me here. And that’s when my husband cried and cried.”
Prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth, in questioning her, said, “How in the world could you allow your husband to do so much for the church if you were being raped?”
Karey said, “I was under the pastor’s control and he was physically and emotionally abusing me.”
Killingsworth asked her if all of the incidents with Harris were rapes or if any of them were consensual.
“None were consensual,” Karey said.
Asked by Killingsworth how, in all those years, nobody ever noticed bruises on her if Harris had been raping and beating her, she said, “Well, my skin is dark.”
Janet Karey told the court she and Woodrow Karey had co-signed for vehicle and furniture loans for Harris as well as loaning the pastor and his family money. Copies of several documents, including loan papers and a cancelled check for $5,000 were admitted into evidence.
Another witness, Mark Matte, testified that he was Woodrow Karey’s supervisor at Centerpoint and that the two had worked together for more than 25 years.
Matte told the court that Karey asked to talk to him in September, 2013, and he said he could tell that Karey was dealing with some type of family issue, “a crisis,” that week, which was the week of the shooting. Karey told Matte he needed some time off, and he said when he was telling him about the texts he had received, “his voice was crackling and he was very upset.”
He said that in the years he worked with Karey, he was “a dependable man, a model employee.”
Trial is set to resume Tuesday in state district court.