LAFAYETTE, Ga. — After the argument about sex, after the choking, after the punches and the pool cue beating and after having a humidifier thrown at her face, Nicole Carroll said a man tried to run over her stepfather in their front yard.
But Michael James Gobert carried a .22-caliber Glock that night last October. And Tuesday, Carroll testified in Walker County Superior Court that her stepfather opened fire to save his own life, hitting the car's driver, Johnny "JJ" Montgomery II, in the head, killing him.
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin does not believe that Gobert really acted in self-defense, though. He is prosecuting Gobert on charges of malice murder, felony murder, four counts of aggravated assault and five counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
Carroll's testimony provided an account of what led up to the shooting. She said she and Montgomery had known each other for about a year. He and his friend, Deisman Harrison, came to her trailer a couple of times to have threesomes. Her trailer on Straight Gut Yard happens to be next door to her mother and stepfather's double-wide, and they all share a yard.
On Oct. 19, she testified, Carroll listened to a song that Montgomery had recorded. She then texted him, inviting him to come over. He and Harrison brought two bottles of Amsterdam Peach Vodka and a third person: Edrius Putman.
Carroll testified that she didn't know Putman. She said she, Montgomery and Harrison had sex. When they finished, she said, Putman came into her room and tried to sleep with her, too. She testified Tuesday that she denied Putman's advances, angering him.
Carroll, who is white, said she called him a "weak a** (N-word)." She said he called her a "b****" and began to choke her. She said Montgomery and Harrison, who were in another room, rushed to the bed and tried to pull Putman away. She and Putman began throwing punches.
She found a pool cue in the trailer and smacked Putman. He took it from her and hit her back. With Montgomery and Harrison pulling him out of the trailer, Carroll said, he grabbed a humidifier and chucked it, hitting her face and slicing a series of cuts into her head.
Dizzy, she testified, she retreated inside the trailer for a second. When she walked back to her front deck, she saw the three men in a car. Montgomery was driving, Harrison was in the back seat and Putman hung from the passenger's side window. Directly in front of them, she said, Gobert stood waiting for them. He had heard the fight next door.
Carroll said Putman called her stepfather weak and told him he would never fire the gun.
"And the car's pointed right at him?" Gobert's attorney, David Dunn, asked on Tuesday.
"Yes, sir," Carroll said.
"And the motor's gunnin'?"
"And that's when the shots were fired?"
"If the car had kicked into drive would it have run down your stepfather?"
For the prosecution, Franklin countered Carroll's testimony by pointing out inconsistencies from her statement to police the day after Montgomery's death. At the time, she told an investigator she heard the shots from her trailer but she couldn't see anything — it was too dark. She also said Gobert and her mother had run out of their trailer that night and immediately began shooting, something she contradicted Tuesday.
At one point, Franklin yelled at Carroll, demanding she stop changing her story. Carroll told Franklin the story was different because she was in no condition to talk to investigators the day after the shooting. She was shaken up and drunk.
"I don't recall answering a lot of questions," Carroll testified. "I do recall telling him I didn't want to be interviewed."
Dr. Sandra Thomas, a medical examiner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testified Tuesday the bullet from Gobert's gun sliced through Montgomery's right temple and exited the left side of his head.
Richard and Waymond Westbrook, neighbors of the Gobert's, testified they heard two shots that night, about a second apart. Then, after a break, they heard a rapid volley of about 10 more shots. Waymond said he went outside. He saw Montgomery's car crashed against a shed in Gobert's yard.
Then, he heard Gobert yell something. He thinks it was, "Don't call me 'sir.' You haven't earned the right."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.