Darrol Sands was not asked if he killed Carol Brown when he took the witness stand Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court, but did admit on cross-examination that he paid her in drugs or money for sex, including the night before her death.
“I had sex with her four times,” Sands testified when questioned by Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael about his relationship with Brown. “I can describe it in detail if you want.”
Sands, 44, who is currently serving a state prison sentence for drug distribution, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter in the April 19, 2008, slaying of Brown, a 22-year-old mother of two found strangled and stabbed in the bathtub of her Mitchell Avenue home.
Taking the stand on the trial’s sixth day, Sands testified he became involved in a sexual relationship with Brown after Valentine’s Day, 2008. The relationship was interrupted after a drug raid at Brown’s home on March 17, 2008, until Friday, April 18, he testified.
Sands, who was living across the street with his wife and two children, testified he went to Brown’s house three times that evening, having sex with her once.
There was no comforter on the bed when they had sex, and afterward he cleaned up by the bathtub, Sands testified.
Sands’ semen was found in Brown, and his DNA was on her bed sheet. When police first searched the house on April 19 there was a blood-stained comforter on the bed.
Police also found Sands’ left palm print on the rim of the tub. He testified that may have happened when he washed after sex, or on April 19 when he ran into Brown’s house after her mother came out screaming.
On cross-examination, Sands testified he was among those in Brown’s house when it was raided by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force on March 17, 2008.
Brown was released on bond the next day, and Sands testified he told police in one of several interviews in 2008 and 2010 that he paid her in crack cocaine for sex that night. He testified that once before the raid, he paid Brown’s boyfriend, Joseph Clark, $60 to have sex with her.
“I didn’t go to them, they came to me,” Sands testified about the encounter. “They chased me down.”
Clark was in jail when Brown was murdered, Michael said.
“I gave her money every time. Even the last time .... I gave her $30,” Sands testified.
Michael asked Sands why he did not tell police in an April 20, 2008, interview that he had sex with Brown on April 18. Michael also asked Sands why he initially withheld information about his sex-for-drugs-and-money relationship.
“How’s me having sex with her going to help solve a murder?” Sands asked.
On direct examination by defense attorney James J. Podlas, Sands testified that he had gone over to Brown’s house the morning of April 19 to borrow a lawnmower, but she did not answer the door.
He testified he went over again at about 3 p.m. to ask if she wanted food from the birthday party he and his wife were hosting for one of their children, but again got no answer.
“Were you obsessed with Carol Brown?” Michael asked, noting Sands told police he had gone to her house several times in the days before her death.
“No,” Sands testified.
Sands said he often checked on Brown’s welfare because she had threatened to harm herself.
Sands testified he did not care that Brown was having a relationship with another man, Michael Carson, in April.
“Who she’s sleeping with is none of my business,” Sands testified.
“I wouldn’t say a girlfriend,” Sands testified when Michael used the term in a question. “Two people having sex. It’s not a big deal.”
Testimony is expected to conclude today. If Sands is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison.