Both sides rest in Hackett murder case


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Closing arguments are expected today in the aggravated murder trial of a man accused of stabbing a woman more than 70 times.

Both prosecutors and the defendant, David Hackett, 54, of New York Avenue, who is acting as his own lawyer, rested their cases Monday afternoon before Judge John Durkin in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Hackett is accused of the October 2013 slaying of Collena Carpenter, 30, of Homeworth in Columbiana County. Carpenter’s body was found near West Avenue in Youngstown.

Hackett faces charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Testimony began May 31.

Hackett asked Judge Durkin to grant him an acquittal just before he started presenting his case, saying prosecutors failed to show any evidence he committed the crimes for which he is charged.

Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa said there was ample evidence, however, leading to Hackett’s guilt.

She said Hackett’s DNA was found in Carpenter’s body, her blood was found in his van, and there was no evidence the pair were having a consensual sexual relationship.

She also said while Hackett may not have forced Carpenter to go with him, he restrained her liberty by raping her and by the multiple stab wounds she sustained.

Cantalmessa also said evidence that was gathered and presented Monday morning from cellphones belonging to both Hackett and Carpenter show texts between the two about a drug debt Carpenter owed Hackett. Tracking data from the phones shows them both at the crime scene before and during the slaying.

In the morning, a technician from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal identification testified about data found on the phones. Included in the data were several texts sent by Carpenter that painted a grim picture of the last two weeks of her life as she lamented her drug addiction, her debt to Hackett, who Cantalamessa said was Carpenter’s drug dealer, and how at times she said she wished she would die.

“I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, trust me, I know that I’m nothing to no one,” one of the texts from Carpenter read.

Judge Durkin overruled Hackett’s motion for an acquittal.

At one time, Hackett did face the death penalty for Carpenter’s death, but prosecutors last year dropped the death-penalty specification.

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