The first time DWM talked about killing Karen, it was to his uncle. The first time he
was approached by police, he was combative and had to be restrained. The first time he
was questioned about the murder, he denied knowing anything about Karen, and
denied being in Decatur the day of the murder. He denied he'd told Uncle Sparky
anything. Then he tried to kill himself, and was combative with the medical staff
treating him, and had to be restrained. The second time he was asked about the murder,
he responded, "F--- IT! I WANT A LAWYER!" While incarcerated for a felony theft
conviction, he talked with multiple cellmates about killing Karen. He was talking with
his lawyers all this time, of course, but otherwise he had nothing to say. The first time
he was asked about the work he did for Godbee, he said he'd been to our house
once with Godbee and once alone.
Then, on November 18, 2002, after 3 1/2 years of preparation and coaching, he took
the stand to answer questions. Sherman Blackstone Powell, Jr. questioned his client at
length, starting with graduating high school and working. DWM said he'd started doing
drugs in high school--LSD, Ecstasy, powder and crack cocaine, crystal
methamphetamine, and prescription pills. He said he would do any drug he could get.
He described it as an "immature lifestyle." DWM said he'd had a lot of jobs, but he'd
never stayed anywhere long. He explained he would "be in an ill mood and just quit."
He said he dated some, but was "not looking to be involved." He described one of his
jobs as working in a meat market butcher shop, and cleaning up blood. He said he
"voluntarily" went to Sunrise in Russellville for 30 days of inpatient drug treatment--after
being charged in December 1997 with DUI, possession of marijuana, illegal liquor,
speeding, and more. He said he went to court and was offered a plea bargain--all
charges were dropped except the DUI, and he was referred to Gerald Fields, Court
Referral Officer. He got a suspended sentence, probation, and he had to pay court
costs. His last payment was March 12, 1999, at the courthouse in Decatur--where he'd
claimed he'd not been that day.
He said he went to work for Howard Godbee in the fall of 1998--around the end of
August or early September. He said he interviewed "and he hired me." He went into 20
or 30 different residencies doing security alarm work--in Decatur, Priceville, Madison,
and Huntsville. He said he went on a variety of jobs by himself. He had a key to Mr.
Godbee's business (and the alarm code). He said he quit working for Godbee around
the 15th of the 20th of December, 1998, because he "had to do it." He said when
Godbee caught him in the alarm company office one night, he'd been drinking and
smoking pot, and he "explained to him what I'd done." He worked with Godbee after
that. He never returned the AEA tool box to Godbee.
DWM said his only time in our house was for a service call (dated October 2, 1998),
with Howard Godbee. He said Karen answered the door, and Godbee introduced him
to Karen. He described a motion detector repair in the foyer, including the detail of
replacing a sensor and testing the alarm system (which requires the installer's code). He
said he went to the alarm panel, on the second floor "closet", the door being next to the
bed (in the master bedroom, where she was tortured), and gave a good description of
the layout of the closet and the bedroom. (much better than Godbee, who called it the
"attic") He described a repair in the "living room" by the couch (in front of the fireplace,
where the attack began). He said he made a "walk through" of the house, and said there
were no children there, but he remembered me coming home while they were there.
He described going to JC Penney's in the mall in early April, 1999, and trying to buy
a gold necklace with a bad check. When it wasn't accepted, he said he grabbed it and
ran (and was apprehended after a wild chase across town, resulting in felony theft, and
multiple other charges). He said he had 75-100 bad checks at the time. He said he was
suicidal at the time, and considered killing himself with a shotgun. He said he didn't,
because he "didn't want a closed casket funeral." He said he was six-feet four, and 120
pounds. He said he was "paranoid."
He said being picked up by the police "wasn't a very pleasant situation." He said
when he stabbed himself 17 times in the chest, "it really hurt."
He refused to give a DNA sample (and it was done forcibly, under court order). He
described where he'd been living since April, 1999--Cullman County Jail, Morgan
County Jail, Chilton County jail, Bullock Correctional, Limestone Correctional, and
work release in Decatur.