A British grandmother named Linda Carty has received a lot of press in recent years; she is accused of the worst kind of crime, and today she sits on Texas death row. There are plenty of people all over the world frantically trying to free this woman from St. Kitts, they believe her to be innocent. This case seems pretty cut and dry to me; please tell me what you think.
Also, I’ll link a documentary which favors her below, in case you’re interested.
So, this horrific crime occurred at approximately 1 a.m. the morning of May 16th in 2001. A group of masked men burst through the door of brand spanking new parents Joana Rodriguez and her husband, an honest construction worker by the name of Raymundo Carera. The young couple had been sleeping in bed with their 3-4 day old infant, Ray, at the time of the invasion. Raymundo was savagely beaten, pistol whipped, and bound with duct tape; the beautiful new mama and her baby boy were kidnapped. After the invaders exited the residence, Raymundo’s cousin, who had been sleeping downstairs, came to untie him; together the men fled to a nearby apartment where the police were promptly summoned.
Investigators spent hours interviewing the victimized family’s neighbors, and they did learn some interesting information. A lady named Linda Carty, who’d just moved out of an apartment just a couple of doors down from Joana, had been telling everyone that she was 9 months pregnant; people took note of this as Linda didn’t appear to be with child at all, let alone close enough to give birth!
Police already knew Linda pretty well, therefore they called and asked her to come up to the station in order to discuss a complaint she’d somewhat recently filed. Once there, they interrogated her about the home invasion and kidnapping; Linda stated that she believed her vehicle may have been used in a crime, and she directed investigators to a spot in which she believed the vehicle could possibly be found.
After following Linda’s directions, police found two vehicles in a parking lot; the baby boy had been abandoned in the back seat of a running vehicle. While baby Ray was given back to his father unharmed, sadly his mother was not as fortunate. Joana was discovered laying inside the trunk the second vehicle; this poor young mother had been hog tied, duct tape had been placed across her nose and mouth, a plastic bag had been taped over her head, and there was a rope around her neck. Both of these vehicles at the scene could be ties back to Linda; one belonged to her 21 year old daughter, the other had been rented by Linda for the day, and both Linda’s fingerprints could be found all over both.
When the intruders, Chris Robinson, Gerald Jerome Anderson, and Carliss Ray Williams Jr. were caught, they promptly admitted to being the ones who had committed the crime; each and every one of them immediately pointed the finger at Linda Carty. Chris, who appears to be the leader of the men, claimed that he’d only known Linda because she was a drug dealer; they’d been friendly for a while when she’d come to him with a way to earn some serious cash. Linda had told Chris that there was plenty of money and 900 pounds of marijuana hidden somewhere within the victim’s tiny apartment. Chris claimed that everything of value found inside of the home was supposed to go to his crew as Linda had only wanted the pregnant woman.
Linda had confided to Chris that Joana had been having an affair with her own husband, and since the baby was a product of said affair that the infant really belonged to her; Chris explained that the vengeful wife had planned to cut baby Ray out of his mother’s womb. Chris would later say that he didn’t know what to do when he found a mother and a baby as he’d been expecting a pregnant woman. He’d gathered up both mother and her newborn, handed baby Ray to Linda who had been awaiting outside at the bottom of the stairs; Joana was placed in the trunk.
The group thoroughly ransacked the home but only discovered less than a grand; this was money with which the victims had been saving to purchase a vehicle. In reality, Raymundo and Joana had truly been decent, honest, hard working folks over the moon with their new lives as parents. There had been no extramarital affair, Joana had done absolutely nothing to warrant this; this couple’s only crime had been living in that apartment where a desperate Linda had noticed them.
Linda vehemently denied all allegations against her. She swore that she’d loaned her vehicle to a man who she barely knew, but this person has yet to be found. The woman claimed to only have known the man who had kidnapped the mother and infant, Chris Robinson, after being recruited by the DEA to “put a sting on him”. Though the DEA says that this is untrue, Linda had worked as an informant for a little while back in 1992 after finding herself on the wrong side of the law; she’d stolen a vehicle and pretended to be a FBI agent. Instead of facing a prison sentence and deportation, Linda had happily agreed to ten years probation and to become an informant; two people were arrested due to her work with the government. After Linda herself was arrested on drug charges, the DEA claims to have cut all ties with her.
Linda’s supporters claim that there is no hard evidence which proves her guilt; while that may be true, man there sure is plenty of circumstantial evidence against this woman.
A fellow inmate by the name of Sarah Hernandez testified at trial that while in jail Linda had approached her with a favor. The accused had begged Sarah to copy an already written letter; this letter was supposed to look like it was written by a man named Oscar, and the content involved Chris and Zeb borrowing Linda’s vehicle and placing the kidnapped baby inside it. The fictitious Oscar stated that this was done because the men wanted to get even with Linda. Sarah was asked to rewrite the letter as Linda needed it to be in someone else’s handwriting.
A friend of the killer would later testify that Linda had claimed to be scheduled to have her labor induced on the day of the murder; on top of this, more witnesses claim that Linda had been driving around town on the day of the murder showing off a baby boy that she’d claimed to have just given birth to! But wait, there’s more! Inside the trunk in which baby Ray was discovered were tons of infant material: brand new newborn clothing, a stroller, car seat, all of the essentials in which a new mommy would need. There was also a diaper bag which contained other damning materials such as surgical scrubs, a stethoscope, and scissors; police surmised that this had all been gathered by Linda in preparation of the fetal abduction which she had been planning to commit.
Linda claims everyone and their mother are lying, that she really had been pregnant just 5 months prior to the incident but she’d miscarried. She insists that all of the baby items had been purchased by or gifted to Linda in the months prior to this, and these items had coincidentally been inside of her vehicle at that time. Now, that might have been a good explanation, except at the time of Linda’s arrest she’d been staying in a hotel room. Detectives thought this was a little off as the woman had just moved out of that apartment nearby the victims and into a new home. During a search of Linda’s hotel room guess what they found? More baby stuff! There was an infant bathtub and several other baby items! What good reason would Linda have for this?
Countless witnesses testified against Linda at court, one of these was an inmate by the name of Sarah Hernandez. Sarah claimed to have been approached by Linda with with a favor. The defendant had asked Sarah to copy an already written letter; this letter was supposed to look like it was written by a man named Oscar, and the content involved Chris and Zeb borrowing Linda’s vehicle and placing the kidnapped baby inside it. The fictitious author stated that the crime was committed strictly with the intent of getting even with Linda. Sarah was asked to rewrite the letter as Linda needed it to be in someone else’s handwriting.
The men who committed the kidnapping each turned state’s evidence against Linda. Chris stated on the stand that he just wanted the drugs and money said to be inside the home; had murder been this man’s intention, he wouldn’t have left any survivors. Chris swore that he had even attempted to save Joana’s life that night by ripping off the plastic bag which Linda had secured over her victim’s head, but it was too late; the young mother was already deceased. In later interviews Chris matter of factly stated that if he had it all to do over again, Joana would still be alive; Chris makes no bones about it, he wishes he could go back in time and murder Linda instead.
As for motive, the prosecution claimed that Linda’s common law husband, Jose Corona, had been planning to leave the marriage (some sources claim he’d already left) if Linda didn’t produce a baby. This was why the woman was so desperate to get her hands on a baby. Though Linda and Joana didn’t really know one another, they would’ve seen each other in passing. Being at the end of her pregnancy Joana must’ve caught Linda’s eye, and she concocted a plan. The jury believed the prosecution, and on February of 2002 Linda was sentenced to death. Her co-conspirators were given hefty sentences, but not the death penalty; Chris Robinson is serving 35 years.
So, as I have already stated, people around the world are up in arms over this case. They’re upset that men who actually admit to having committed the crime received lighter sentences than Linda. They’re also enraged that a victim of a violent crime could possibly be sentenced to death! After moving to the big city, back in 1988, Linda had studied pharmacology at the University of Houston. She claims that she was robbed and raped in the college parking lot one night; this sexual assault lead to the birth of a baby girl who was put up for adoption at birth. The prosecution believes Linda’s victimization to be untruthful as she never reported any robbery or rape. They explained that, since Linda was studying medicine, she’d have known better than most exactly what could come of unprotected sex, especially of a violent rape; they stated that if Linda truly had been a victim she would’ve gotten herself tested for STDs, if nothing else! They also claimed that while it is true that many sexual assaults go unreported, most of those are cases in which the victim knows his or her attacker. In a crime such as this, a sexual assault and robbery which occurred in a public place, most victims would’ve reported this type of attack immediately. The prosecution reasoned that Linda only cried rape in an attempt to hide the “social stigma” of pregnancy after a one night stand. Both prosecutors in this case have been accused of acts such as withholding witness statements, destroying evidence, and of convincing witnesses to lie on the stand. Of course these prosecutors claim that all of this is just a bunch of lies.
Linda’s nationality plays a huge factor in all of the support and attention she’s received. She is a woman born in a British territory living in the US; many feel very strongly that this woman should have been appointed a British attorney to fight for her, and that Linda was not given adequate representation. They feel that the public defender who specialized in capital cases appointed to defend Linda didn’t even attempt to save her life, and it is a fact that Jerry Guerinot has seen more than 20 of his clients sentenced to death. They claim that the lawyer called no witnesses even though there were witnesses to call, and he only met with Linda for a very brief time before the trial. While conducting my own research on this case it appears that Linda had not only one attorney, but two; Windi Akins also fought on Linda’s behalf but you rarely hear any mention of this. These two sing a much different song; Jerry Guerinot has stated: “Linda refused to speak to me or my co-counsel, Windi Akins, because she insisted she was hiring her own lawyer… She was the most uncooperative defendant I have ever represented in a capital murder case… She told us about the circumstances surrounding her stay at the Hampton Inn Hotel and the items found in her room. Based on that information, we filed a motion to suppress evidence that was recovered in her hotel room, and we were successful in that motion… She continued to state that she was hiring other attorneys and again stopped communication with us during the trial.”.
Linda’s supporters did raise enough hell that a higher court actually took a second look at the case, but last year it was ruled that Linda will remain on Texas death row.
MY OPINION: If you have followed me for any length of time you already know that I love me a good sob story, calling attention to injustices is my mission. I dove head first into this case truly expecting to find just that, but honestly I fail to see how this woman could possibly be uninvolved in this murder. The only potential injustice I can find is that Linda didn’t receive a British attorney when she probably should’ve been appointed one. Linda did not receive a talented American lawyer, but that can be said for so many people in this country’s prisons. It’s exceedingly common for a financially challenged US citizen to find themselves in a situation such as this because decent lawyers don’t come cheap; that is why we hear of people such as OJ or Casey Anthony getting away with murder and innocent people being sentenced to death. It absolutely does happen, and more often than most of us care to admit; still, a person having shoddy legal representation does not equate to their innocence. And, if her attorneys did successfully file a motion to suppress that very damning evidence from being heard at trial, can we honestly say that they didn’t try?
The fact is, were Linda an American citizen, it’s very unlikely any of us would even know her name; very few would give a damn if she were scheduled for execution tonight. My question for you: if a person comes to the US and is accused of a crime of this magnitude, should the death penalty be an option for them? Should they be subject to what much of the world sees as extreme punishment? Furthermore, do you believe that the death penalty should still be an option? Do you believe Linda’s case should qualify? I’ll add that documentary at the very bottom of this article.
As for the victims here, Joana’s husband, Raymundo, soon took his baby boy to be raised with family in Mexico. They are reportedly doing well today.
*I’m only mentioning this because I know there will be comments about it if I don’t. I’m well aware that many, many women do not report their sexual assaults. At age 14 I did not report my own rape, and it Absolutely did happen. Maybe Linda was telling the truth about what happened to her, maybe she wasn’t. But really, what does that have to do with what was done to Joana? Experiencing something horrific in adulthood doesn’t give any of us a free pass when it comes to murder.
That documentary I promised;