The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 29, 2021 1:00 am

Jury finds man guilty of shooting, killing wife

Daughter says she's not shocked

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

An Allen County jury took less than three hours to find a man guilty of killing his wife even though he claimed she lunged at him and hurled a knife. 

David Carwile, 56, is facing up to 65 years in prison for the March shooting death with the possibility of an additional 20 years for using a gun to commit the crime. Sentencing is set for Dec. 17. 

Carwile took the stand Thursday in his defense.

When Deputy Prosecutor James Posey asked why he told police he hoped his wife was dead and called her names, Carwile didn't deny his statements made just after the shooting.

“I was upset,” he told the jurors. “I don't know why I said that,” he said in another explanation. 

Posey said the most galling words came during a police interview. 

“The one thing I regret is I didn't even get my first cup of coffee,” Carwile told police. 

Carwile, an antiques dealer who dealt in knives among other things, killed his wife, Joyce Carwile, 59, about 9 a.m. March 19. He testified he was sitting on the couch in his living room next to the gun he kept in a remote control bag on the arm of the sofa. 

Carwile said his wife hurled a knife at him, a knife that somersaulted through the air and landed blade up in the middle of the couch. He didn't offer a possible motive for her alleged actions.

Fort Wayne police crime scene technician Al Garriott said he'd never seen this feat in his career covering more than 500 homicide scenes. No fingerprints were found on the knife or gun, Garriott testified.

Carwile, claiming self-defense, said he drew his gun with a shaking hand due to his multiple sclerosis and shot her in the chest.

Forensic physician Scott Wagner said the bullet entered Joyce Carwile's body at a downward angle, the same angle a second bullet entered Joyce's back. Her husband said he fired that shot “accidentally” in the kitchen after he rushed after her, afraid his wife was going to get another knife.

Posey called the “accidental shooting” explanation a “wild tale,” primarily because David Carwile had to recock the gun in order to shoot it again. 

Suffering from two gunshot wounds, the 4-foot-8 victim left the home and sought aid from neighbors. Carwile said he told her to get into the car so he could take her to the hospital, but she apparently didn't trust him. Both shots were fired from 6 inches to 3 feet from her body, court testimony said. 

While their disabled daughter was alone in her bedroom, Carwile sat down and wrote a note about the 20-year-old's medical conditions and ushered his daughter into a Chevrolet Equinox. 

He didn't call 9-1-1. A neighbor did. Carwile drove past police attending his wife and another squad car pulling up to the home in the 4400 block of Alverado Drive. 

“Why didn't you stop?” Posey asked him. 

“I wanted to get my daughter out. She didn't need to see that,” Carwile replied. 

Less than an hour later, a Fort Wayne officer pulled Carwile over. He complied, according to court documents and testimony, handing over the note describing the constant care his special needs daughter required, including the phone number for two physicians. 

His hate-filled words toward his wife, who was taken to a hospital where she died, were captured by the squad car's recording system.

“Good, I hope she dies,” he said. “Take me downtown and lock me up.”

The words were similar to those used the night before when Joyce Carwile called 9-1-1, worried about the whereabouts of Carwile's gun.

She reported that the two of them had been arguing and she was upset he'd sent a text message to his sister calling the victim “a good for nothing evil bitch.” During that call, Carwile said he wished his wife were dead.

It's not dissimilar to the story Tiffany Carwile, Carwile's 30-year-old daughter by his first wife, told The  Journal Gazette in a phone interview. 

Tiffany Carwile lives in Ohio, where she grew up. She said Joyce and David Carwile divorced and remarried. Joyce helped her husband sell antiques and worked at a local Salvation Army store, Tiffany Carwile said.

“I'm, sadly, not shocked. He had people fooled,” Tiffany Carwile said.

She broke off communication with her father when she was a freshman in high school, citing constant verbal, mental and physical abuse. She said he hit his children with a cane, wooden two-by-fours and belts. Tiffany Carwile also claimed he threw them into walls. 

She found his claims of self-defense “sickening.” 

Her stepsister, known as Patty, currently lives in a home, but Tiffany Carwile hopes to get into a position where she can accept her non-verbal sister into her house. 

Ryan Gardner, who represented David Carwile, said several times that his client shot his wife only after being attacked by her.

It was the prosecutor's burden of proof to show that Carwile didn't react in self-defense.

Carwile appeared in court in a wheelchair but wasn't using one the day of the shooting, nor did he use it all the time, according to testimony. 

“Can you run?” one juror wanted to know. “No,” was the response. 

Posey left the jury with Carwile's own words. After Carwile said he hoped his wife would die, he added that he would “put her down, like she was a dog,” Posey said.

“He lied, twisted the facts, sought sympathy and didn't call 9-1-1,” Posey said. “I don't care how mad you are at your wife, you're not allowed to kill her.”

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