The ex-girlfriend of a man on trial in Florida for allegedly stabbing another girlfriend to death as she fled from him testified Tuesday that she was attacked and in a similar way.
Michelle Rogers told Hillsborough County jurors in the capital case against Matthew Terry, 47, that the defendant stabbed her in the throat. Terry is accused of repeatedly stabbing 43-year-old third grade math and science teacher Kay Baker.
A witness said that Terry was upset Baker had danced with another man at a bar on May 27, 2022. She was found with her throat cut the next morning. Authorities said that a lone kitchen knife was missing from a butcher block holder.
Michelle Rogers testified that Terry committed a similar attack against her on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017.
The witness said she met Terry on a dating app in 2015 and went on to live together in Michigan as boyfriend and girlfriend.
On March 17, 2017, St. Patrick’s Day, they met up with some of Terry’s friends and went out drinking to celebrate in the afternoon. They were barhopping, Rogers said.
Hours into the celebration, Terry was intoxicated and “slurring his words so bad he was just talking nonsense,” said Rogers.
She said she was “upset with his condition” and left him at the bar around 6 p.m.
At least a couple hours passed.
When Terry got home, he came to the back door by the kitchen and knocked on it, the witness said. Rogers said he was “clearly drunk.”
She said Terry seemed angry, but she remembered him making a sandwich or some food item in the kitchen. Then came the attack out of nowhere, Rogers said.
“I remember him coming around the counter and coming at me,” Rogers told the jury.
“Oh my God, what are you doing?” she recalled yelling.
She said Terry, a wrestling coach, knocked her into the front door and to the floor, punched her in the face, chest, and back, and used wrestling moves to try and keep her on the ground.
“I love you why are you doing this?” Rogers said she yelled.
“No you don’t, fuck you, I’m going to kill you,” Terry allegedly answered.
“He continues to, for lack of a better phrase, beat the shit out of me,” Rogers said.
The attack moved through the living room.
“There was blood everywhere,” Rogers said. “He had broken my nose.”
Rogers said Terry then repeatedly slammed her head into the floor, causing her to black out. Rogers said that when she came to, she heard Terry rummaging for a knife in the kitchen; she was still “disoriented” and sitting with her head in her hands.
“The next thing you know, Mr. Terry comes around behind me and stabs me in the neck,” she said.
Prosecutors say that Terry also stabbed Baker in the neck.
According to authorities in press releases and court documents, the two were together at the Landing Bar & Grill on the night of May 27.
A witness said that Terry was upset with Baker.
“I saw you dancing with that guy,” the defendant allegedly said.
Early on May 28, 2022 a man claimed to hear screaming and found Baker dead outside, according to a redacted affidavit.
Investigators followed a trail of blood to Terry in overgrown brush and trees. He was “found only wearing a t-shirt and underwear soaked in apparent blood.”
He had lacerations on his fingers and hands, as well as superficial cuts to his arm, authorities said.
“The defendant also had two apparent stab wounds along each side of his neck, which appeared to be symmetrical and clean punctures,” authorities said. “The defendant declined to make any statements without legal representation.”
Court went on break just before 10 a.m., shortly after Rogers had mentioned that Terry was incarcerated.
Judge Christopher Sabella, first saying please and then retracting it for emphasis, out of the presence of the jury instructed the witness not to mention anything about jail or incarceration while on the stand.
Rogers clarified that she was only saying that Terry is currently incarcerated. The judge said, however, that it didn’t matter — no mentions whatsoever of prior or current incarceration while the jury is in the room.
Judge Sabella then said please again.
Terry served three years in a Michigan prison for attacking Rogers.
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
[Image via Law&Crime Network]
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