Woman accused of stabbing former beau will claim self-defense

Charlotte Carman

Charlotte Carman

During a rare appearance in Mercer County Superior Court, the state’s top public defender said a Trenton woman accused of fatally stabbing her former boyfriend in a jealous rage last year had suffered facial fractures after being abused by the victim prior to the stabbing.

At a bail reconsideration hearing Monday, Joseph Krakora revealed Charlotte Carman will claim she acted in self-defense when she stabbed Paris France Way to death in May 2015 after he struck her in the face with a 2-liter soda bottle.

Charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, criminal mischief and weapons offenses, Carman was extended a plea deal by prosecutors for the first time that would require her to spend 30 years in state prison if she pleads guilty.

Krakora’s self-defense announcement stirred Way’s family members who were in court Monday for a bail reconsideration hearing for Carman. One woman believed to be Way’s mother cursed at the suggestion of self-defense and had to be calmed down by Assistant Prosecutor Stacey Geurds.

Krakora excoriated prosecutors for not turning over discovery in the murder case, saying they disregarded Judge Pedro Jimenez’s court order to turn over police reports and other documents by late last month.

The hearing grew so acrimonious between prosecutors and Krakora that Jimenez took the parties into chambers for several minutes to discuss the issues privately.

While disputing that the woman acted in self-defense, Geurds released details about the stabbing not made public at Carman’s bail hearing in June. She also said she has not been provided with medical records to substantiate Carman’s alleged injuries.

“This was not self-defense,” Geurds said. “Her demeanor was not of a frightened person but someone who was ticked off.”

Prosecutors had said at a bail hearing last year Carman confessed to stabbing Way four times, piercing his heart and collapsing his lung, after she found him driving in a car with another woman.

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She slashed the tires on Way’s Hyundai Sonata, took $180 from his wallet and spat on him while he lay dying on the street near the intersection of Sherman and St. Joes.

On Monday, Geurds revealed Carman stalked Way prior to the stabbing on May 31, 2015, sending Way’s brother a message over Facebook asking about his “stupid a** brother’s” whereabouts.

She was upset he did not pick her up, and took a cab to where he was, Geurds said.

As far as Way was concerned, his relationship with Carman was over, Geurds said. Carman felt differently and was infuriated when she saw Way in his car with another woman.

She confronted him, believing he was involved with the woman, slapped grocery bags from his hands and slapped him, Geurds said, prompting Way to defend himself by swinging the soda bottle.

The Trentonian had reported, based on information released at Carman’s bail hearing and a friend’s suggestion he liked women “to a fault,” that Way was involved with the woman.

Geurds said her office believes Way and the woman, who witnessed the stabbing, were not romantically linked and were neighbors who had lived next to each other for a few months.

The woman was inside eating dinner with her son after Way dropped her off. They had gone grocery shopping together, Geurds said.

Carman cursed Way out over the woman, prosecutors said, demanded money for her to get her hair done and for her to purchase marijuana. Then she allegedly stabbed him four times, took his cell phone, cigarettes and $180 from his wallet which she used the next day to pay for a memorial tattoo with Way’s date of death, prosecutors said.

Carman also spat on Way as he told her, “You hurt me. I need help,” according to prosecutors.

Geurds said the bloody knife used in the stabbing had traces of DNA belonging to Carman and the victim. Carman admitted getting rid of Way’s cell phone, the knife and her bloody clothes, Geurds said.

The prosecutor disputed Krakora’s suggestion that Carman is not a flight risk, saying that after she was arrested in New Brunswick, she tried to slip out of a backdoor where she was being held by marshals.

Touting a bail reform law that takes effect in New Jersey next year, Krakora asked for Carman, who has been held in lieu of $770,000, to be released from jail without bail while she awaits the outcome of her case.

He cited prosecutors’ refusal to turn over discovery as a change in circumstances for Carman and the reason he asked for a probable cause hearing to determine if prosecutors had enough evidence to move forward with the case against Carman.

He withdrew his request for the probable cause hearing, saying some documents that have been turned over show there is enough evidence for prosecutors to go ahead with the case.

Judge Jimenez, citing Carman’s prior convictions for resisting arrest and child abuse and the seriousness of the charges, refused to release Carman without bail. However, he reduced bail to $400,000 and required a source hearing to vet the money if the Carman posts it.

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