CHELSEA, Vt. (AP) – Blind and disfigured, a woman testified Thursday against the ex-husband who police say doused her with lye in a 2007 attack.

Heavily scarred and bandaged around the head and neck, Carmen Tarleton, 40, held her sister’s arm as she walked gingerly to the witness stand in Vermont District Court and testified briefly at a hearing. It was the first time she’d been in the same room as ex-husband Herbert Rodgers since the attack.

The hearing focused on incriminating statements made by Rodgers that his lawyer wants thrown out.

Rodgers, 53, is accused of burglary, aggravated domestic assault and maiming in the June 10, 2007 incident, which police say began when he broke into her house in a jealous rage, intending to kill the man with whom he believed she was romantically involved.

Instead, he allegedly poured the toxic chemical over Tarleton and broke her arm and eye socket, leaving her with burns over 80 percent of her body.

“I lost it, I just lost it,” he said as he was being arrested.

Tarleton – a nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. – has undergone more than 40 operations, including skin grafts and a synthetic cornea transplant in hopes of restoring the eyesight she lost in the attack.

On Thursday, she spoke calmly and clearly as she answered questions from Deputy Orange County State’s Attorney Robert DiBartolo as Rodgers watched from a defense table.

He showed no emotion when he entered the courtroom, handcuffed and shackled, and was led by two sheriff’s deputies to within about five feet of Tarleton’s front-row seat – looking directly at Tarleton – before the three turned toward the judge.

On the stand, Tarleton gave biographical information about Rodgers and described meeting him while she was working at UCLA Medical Center in California and he was working for a hospital supplier. They married in 2001.

At one point, she fought back tears as DiBartolo asked if they had lived together before being married. “We did,” she said.

She said he never suffered from mental illness that she knew of, and that he was reasonably intelligent – enough so that he understood the transactions they undertook in buying houses together in California and Vermont.

Her testimony didn’t touch on the reason for the hearing, which was defense attorney Kevin Griffin’s contention that some of Rodgers’ statements to police should be suppressed because he wasn’t immediately given his Miranda rights at the scene.

Prosecutors say Rodgers made the statements voluntarily and mostly without prompting.

Several police officers who participated in Rodgers’ arrest and transport testified Thursday, including Lebanon (N.H.) police Officer Jeremy Perkins, who drove Rodgers to jail after he was treated and released from Dartmouth-Hitchcock following the incident.

Perkins said that when Rodgers started talking about what had happened, he stopped Rodgers and asked him if he had been advised of his right to remain silent, but that Rodgers kept talking, sometimes through tears. The conversation wasn’t recorded.

Rodgers told the policeman about how he and Tarleton moved to Vermont with the understanding that she would be the breadwinner and he would be a stay-at-home Dad for her two children, but that he soon began feeling isolated from the world and started using Internet pornography sites, according to Perkins.

Rodgers said that was the beginning of the end of their marriage, Perkins said.On the night of the attack, Rodgers said, he intended to confront the man he believed she was seeing, use the lye on him and then beat him to death.

with a baseball bat while Carleton watched, according to Perkins.

“It was such a shocking story that he was telling me,” Perkins said. “The hair on the back of my neck was going up.”

Judge Mary Miles Teachout didn’t immediately rule on the suppression motion


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