Jurors hear recording of Mcatlin saying he repeatedly stabbed woman ‘until she stopped squirming’

Composite image. St. George Police respond to crime scene June 13, 2018, on North Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, where Elizabeth Carter was found dead. Kevin Ray Mcatlin (inset photo) is on trial for her murder. | Crime scene photo by Cody Blowers; booking photo of Mcatlin courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  There were four hours of silence as police transported accused killer Kevin Ray Mcatlin from Moab back to St. George, but with an hour left to go he started talking.

Detectives recorded him as he recalled the eight hours leading up to when he admitted to  stabbing Elizabeth Ashley Carter to death June 2 in her apartment on North Bluff Street where she was discovered 11 days later.

Prosecutors played the 58-minute audio recording for jurors Wednesday in 5th District Court where Mcatlin, 29, is on trial for first-degree murder.

St. George Police Lt. Rich Triplett’s testimony introduced the recording of Mcatlin’s confession.

St. George Police detective Rich Triplett testifies during the murder trial of Kevin Ray Mcatlin, St. George, Utah, April 17, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“He just didn’t want her to scream,” Triplett said on the stand as he recounted Mcatlin’s statement toward the end of their 350-mile trip.

Read more: Defense: Mcatlin guilty of homicide but not murder in stabbing death of St. George woman

On June 17, the day after Mcatlin’s arrest on a warrant, St. George detectives drove to Grand County Jail to pick him up. They recorded the entire five-hour return trip to Purgatory Correctional Facility.

The first four hours or so of the audio was empty silence, prosecutor Zachary Weiland of the Washington County Attorney’s Office said, until the final hour of the recording, which was transcribed.

A copy of of the transcription was given to each juror to follow along as they listened to the audio because the recording took place in a vehicle where traffic and highway noises interfered with the quality of the recording.

Mcatlin said nothing until they reached Cedar City still heading south, which is when he asked, “Did she have any family?”

That question prompted a 58-minute overview as Mcatlin recounted the events that took place over the course of eight hours that began on Friday night, June 1, the night before Carter was killed. Mcatlin was at a get-together in Toquerville where he met the victim for the first time.

Kevin Mcatlin stands at defense table on trial for murder in the death of Elizabeth Carter, St. George, Utah, April 17, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

After he smoked methamphetamine and drank “about a half of a gallon of alcohol,” Mcatlin said, Carter drove him to her apartment in his work truck because he was too intoxicated to drive.

In the apartment, he was in the shower and saw a man, later identified as Calvin Black, going through the bag where he kept his drugs and money, an allegation Black denied on the witness stand.

Mcatlin said he became angry, but instead of saying anything to Black he decided to “calm himself down” by smoking meth with Black, who left the apartment minutes later.

“I remember arguing with Liz about why she let someone go through my bag while I was in the shower. Then she slapped me.”

At that point in the recording, McAtlin could be heard crying as he told detectives he picked up Carter by the throat and threw her against the bookcase as hard as he could. He heard her say, “Help.”

“I didn’t know what to do,” Mcatlin said on the audio. “I didn’t want her to scream.”

Mcatlin said that when Carter started fighting back he covered her mouth with his right hand and stabbed her in the neck with a small samurai sword he found on the shelf.

Asked how many times he stabbed the victim, Mcatlin said, “I did it until she stopped squirming.”

At first, he tried to stop the bleeding but quickly realized he couldn’t, so he placed her in the bathtub and covered her with blankets and cushions from the couch.

He spent the next hour or so trying to clean up, then returned to his home in Hurricane. He hid the clothes and boots he was wearing behind a shed in the backyard and left the area.

Mcatlin held his head in his hands as the audio recording played in the courtroom.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Ed Flint asked Triplett if Mcatlin ever referred to the sword as a “murder weapon.” The detective replied “no.”

Flint said that Triplett referred to the sword as a “murder weapon” and used the word “murder” several times during his testimony before and after the audio presentation.

Flint, in his opening statement Tuesday, admitted that Mcatlin killed Carter but said it was not murder.

During his cross examination of Triplett, Flint pointed out that Mcatlin never said he “murdered” anyone but that it was police who introduced the term.

The state rested its case Wednesday, and the defense is expected to call witnesses as the trial continues Thursday at 9 a.m. Mcatlin will be taking the stand either Thursday or Friday, according to Flint.

The state is not seeking the death penalty.


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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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