It’s hard to trust people. Even in this day and age, the time of transparency and social sharing. Yet not so long ago, most of us were forced to rely on our instincts in order to weed out those in our lives who were either untrustworthy, or dangerous.
Perhaps because of the assumed transparency of the digital age, the skills that people once needed to use in order to take other people with a grain of salt have become somewhat weakened. Then of course, there are those who just never had that instinct to begin with…
Side of the Road
They found the girl on the side of the road. A passerby had seen something strange off the highway and had pulled over to investigate it before calling the police. It appeared as though someone had killed her, stashed her body in a remote location, and burnt her so badly that at first, police officers didn’t even have a way to identify who she was.
What they did know from the onset was that Jane Doe was mentally challenged, was far from home, and seemed to have fought back against her attacker in some way. She had bruises consistent with defensive wounds, bites on her tongue, food, and an anti-inflammatory pill still sat in her stomach. Whoever she was, this girl had struggled greatly before she died…
The Friendly Sort
As to who she struggled against, that remained a mystery. Dental records soon identified the deceased as 39-year-old Cherry Walker, a mentally disabled, though very independent babysitter. Those who knew her described her as outgoing, pleasant to be around, and good at what she did. She made friends easily and had no enemies.
Out for a Drive
If Cherry Walker had one fault, it would have been that she was far more trusting, some might say gullible, than your average person. Having found her body so far from home, police believe that she may have been taken out there in an automobile. It wasn’t until much later that they realized the car didn’t belong to any trustworthy-looking stranger, but someone that Cherry had known and trusted for a long time…
Cherry had worked for Kimberly Cargill, a 45-year-old Whitehouse woman and single mother whose son needed a babysitter. But Ms. Cargill was not, by any metric, a nice person. In fact, the reason that she even had Cherry in her car on that fateful night, was that she had injured one of her children and poor Cherry had been called to testify against her.
Not a Liar
Cherry had been upset that she’d even received the subpoena, but knew that she had to tell the truth: just as everyone had always taught her. It was no secret that Cargill didn’t want Cherry to testify against her and once she’d heard that Cherry had already explained to a friend she wouldn’t lie for her, she knew what she had to do…
And so Kim Cargill called Cherry Walker and told her told her that she would come and get her and hide her. That way she wouldn’t be compelled to testify because of the subpoena. Cherry trusted Ms. Cargill, so she accepted the offer. They went out to eat then drove along a country road and that’s when things get a bit murky.
According to Ms. Cargill, Cherry suddenly had a seizure whilst they were driving and she died from that fit. After finding out that she was unable to revive her, Cargill then decided to get rid of the body. Obviously suspicion would have settled on her as the main culprit, so she didn’t have any choice…or did she?
After that, Cargill drove Cherry to a county road, doused her with lighter fluid and set her clothes on fire. While it was perfectly plausible that Cherry could have died from a seizure at the time, future forensic tests would reveal that she didn’t. Thankfully, they also revealed she wasn’t breathing at all when she was set on fire.
As for her Cherry’s belongings? Cargill threw those away, even her former babysitter’s beloved coin purse. She threw it out just as unceremoniously as she did Cherry herself. Afterwards, she got cash out of an ATM at a local Exxon. Not long after Cherry’s body was found, police tracked down and picked up Kimberly Cargill…
Cargill stuck to her story all through the ensuing court case, but the more she told it, the less it seemed to make any sense at all. Even if Cherry had conveniently died of a seizure a few days before her testimon, it didn’t explain why she’d gone through such extreme lengths to dispose of the body.
Meanwhile, her defense attorney, Brett Harrison, argued that if Kim Cargill was indeed as smart and manipulative at the prosecution was making her sound, then she wouldn’t have made it so obvious that she was going to kill Cherry. Prior to the fatal drive, Cargill made a number of rather insistent calls to her and to the DAs office hours before the alleged murder…
Obstruction and Retaliation
The charges brought against her were considered to be a combination of “obstruction and retaliation.” Eventually though, they removed obstruction, since it was implied and would only serve to confuse a jury. What she was actually guilty of was murder.
Threat to Society
Her attorney went on to inform the jurors that there were two questions they needed to answer as far as her punishment was concerned. First, they had to decide whether Ms. Cargill presents a continuing threat to society. The second question was whether or not the mitigating circumstances surrounding Cherry’s death would have caused her to commit the crime…
Life in Prison
Brett Harrison argued that his client receive life without the possibility of parole. He suggested that she would do well in a structured correctional environment and that she had a mental disorder that was not usually violent. Indeed, since she’d been jailed for the trial, she hadn’t had any violent outbursts: not for two years in custody.
Not being violent wasn’t enough, however. You see, while Cargill was in jail, she called a male friend and asked him to remove an orange bicycle from her property. That bicycle would eventually be used in the CPS case against her. She wanted it to disappear, just as she’d wanted to do the same with Cherry Walker…
The prosecutor, on the other hand, took a hard line on Cargill’s crime. “She chose to do this,” he said to the jury. “If you could do that choking and hitting your children, who wouldn’t you hurt?” They believed him and in the end, after nine hours of deliberation, the jury sentenced Kimberly Cargill to death by lethal injection.
Salt in the Wounds
After the death sentence was handed down, Cherry Walker’s stepmother, Rueon, came forward to address the court and her daughter’s convicted killer. “Ms. Cargill, Cherry loved you and she loved your son. She didn’t deserve the horrible thing you did. You took her away from people that loved her…”
Oddly enough, even though Cargill showed no reaction at all when the punishment was read out, it was Mrs. Walker’s victim impact statement that really hit her. “When I saw my baby in the morgue,” continued Rueon Walkers, “Her eyebrows singed…You took away my memories of her. I couldn’t give her a beautiful pink dress. All I had was a black body bag.”
Justice and Jesus
As if that weren’t enough, she finished with a rather impactful sentiment. “We don’t hate you,” she told Ms. Cargill. “We only have love, pity and compassion for you. Jesus loves you, and he will forgive you.” She added that though there are no winners, there is justice, and that’s what really matters.