A witness for the defense in the trial of murder suspect Bryan Peter Foshay reluctantly testified Friday that a man other than the defendant said he wanted to kill the victim.
Candice Carpenter initially testified that a man named Charles Cagle hadn’t directly told her he would kill Brian Blackwell, who was found dead with a single gunshot wound to his head at his east-side condo in January 2012.
Foshay, 37, is on trial before Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry for Blackwell’s murder.
“Not factual information, no,” Carpenter answered when questioned about her knowledge of any threats made against Blackwell.
Defense attorney Walter Palser, however, played an audio recording of Carpenter telling investigators with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office that Cagle had made threats against Blackwell.
“He told me that he was going to,” Carpenter told the investigators in the recording. “That he was going to have him killed; that he was going to be dealt with.”
She was recorded during a “free talk” with attorney general’s investigators regarding an unrelated case in 2012.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Lindsay St. John asked Carpenter if she had any firsthand knowledge of who killed Blackwell.
Carpenter, who was held in Pima County jail on a material-witness warrant compelling her to testify, said she did not know.
St. John also questioned her about a past dispute the two men had, asking if Blackwell was fearful of Cagle.
“Not at all — he went over and confronted him,” Carpenter said.
Foshay’s defense attorneys argue that Cagle, currently in Pima County jail in an unrelated case, had a motive to kill Blackwell.
Beginning in January 2010, Blackwell began working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as a confidential informant.
“Brian Blackwell was a very good confidential informant of mine,” testified Creighton Brandt, an ATF special agent.
Brandt said Blackwell informed him in late 2011 of possible illegal firearms that Cagle had. That information later helped lead to a case against Cagle.
In her testimony, Carpenter denied that Cagle was angered over Blackwell turning him in to the ATF. Carpenter told Palser that she had only secondhand knowledge of Cagle’s threats.
Her recorded statements with the Attorney General’s Office contradicted that denial.
“He (Cagle) said Brian Blackwell turned him in,” she said on the recording.
Foshay’s defense also called on a neighbor who testified that he appeared normal the night that Blackwell was killed.
Diana Cannon said Foshay befriended her and her husband when they first moved into the same neighborhood where Foshay lived with his parents more than 20 years ago.
She testified that she and her husband often spent time with Foshay and his children and took the children to dinner the evening Blackwell was killed because Foshay said he had an errand to run.
When they returned later, Cannon said Foshay was wearing the same clothing and appeared normal.
St. John questioned Cannon’s memory of the night, noting the greater detail Cannon has recalled of the night as time passed, even recalling what Foshay wore in January 2012.
“After I’ve thought everything through, I do remember what he was wearing,” Cannon said.
Earlier in the trial, a detective who worked on the case said Foshay was implicated in the murder because of instant messages he exchanged with Blackwell the night he was killed that appear to place Foshay at the scene.
Police also found a pistol in Foshay’s home that later was linked through ballistics testing to the bullet taken from Blackwell’s head.
The defense has disputed the ballistics results.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.