Doctor testifies about Karey’s state of mind

Pastor shooting – testimony

The trial of a man charged with manslaughter continued Friday in state district court with testimony from a forensics expert, investigators, and a doctor who testified about the defendant’s state of mind in the days leading up to the shooting of a pastor.

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.

Tim Milburn, who works in the field of computer forensics, told the court about creating a forensic report on data he collected on a cellphone in connection with the case.

Milburn said the phone was sent to Apple headquarters in California and the company downloaded information from the hard drive of the phone and provided the data to Milburn.

He said he was able to get information for the time period in question, which was mostly September 2013, including text messages, a call history, and a list of contacts that were stored in the phone.

Milburn said some of the text messages were between Karey and his wife, Janet, while others were between Karey’s wife and Harris and others were from friends, colleagues, etc.

A few days before the shooting, a series of text messages, some with vulgar language, were sent from Harris to Karey’s wife but instead went to Karey by mistake. The texts included one that said: “You and your family will suffer.” After that string of messages, another text was sent by Harris that said: “I am very sorry for the words used. I’m totally wrong.”

Milburn said a text went out from Karey to Harris that next morning, at 2:40 a.m., that said: “Get ready for church mother——.”

On Sept. 23, 2013, Harris sent a text to Karey that said: “The next time I hear from you, let it be from your attorney.”

Prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth asked Milburn if investigators had altered or tampered with the cellphone evidence in any way and he said, “No, that would be a crime.”

The prosecution has said that Harris was in an affair with Karey’s wife; the defense has said that Karey’s wife was being raped by Harris for 14 years.

Dr. Michael Traub, a family medicine physician, testified that he was Woodrow Karey’s doctor since 2005.

“On Sept. 24, 2013, my office told me I had a walk-in and that it was Karey so of course I said I would see him,” Traub said.

The prosecution has said that Ronald Harris was in an affair with Woodrow Karey’s wife; the defense has said that Karey’s wife was being raped by Harris for 14 years.

“He was extremely distraught and crying and very upset,” he said. “He had trouble breathing and even speaking to me. When he got composed, he told me that he had received a text by mistake that was meant for his wife. He showed me the text. He told me that he felt betrayed by Harris and that a rape situation had been going on for years and that she (Janet Karey) had been kept silent by intimidation from Harris in the form of a gun.”

Traub said the defendant “fell apart when he became aware of all of this. I advised him to take the text, meet with an attorney, and to go to the authorities and report it.”

Prosecutor Hugo Holland asked Traub if he thought Karey was being forthcoming in his presentation of the situation.

“I did not doubt his credibility at all,” Traub said.

Russell Sittig, a deputy with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, told defense attorney Adam Johnson of meeting with Karey and his wife on Sept. 25, 2013, after they requested a meeting because “they wanted to report a rape.”

“He (Karey) said that has wife had been raped and he was tired of the pastor texting his wife and that they were trying to get their marriage back together,” Sittig said. “I got a patrolman to meet with them and take a report.”

Holland asked Sittig who did the talking during the time he met with Karey and his wife. “Mr. Karey did all the talking and his wife never even made eye contact with me,” Sittig said.

Nathan McKee, a sergeant with the CPSO, testified about being dispatched to the crime scene after the shooting of Harris later that week.

McKee said when he got to the scene, Karey was being handcuffed and arrested.

“I advised him of his rights and at that time he told me, ‘He (Harris) raped my wife.’ ”

McKee said Karey pointed to a location about 50 yards away where he said he had put his guns. He said he asked him if he had shot someone and he said, “Yes, and then he repeated again, ‘He raped my wife,’ ” he said.

Trial is set to resume Monday in state district court.