YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – As testimony wrapped up in the David Hackett murder trial, the victim’s family is now trying to tell her story.
Hackett is accused of stabbing Collena Carpenter to death in 2013. Her body was found in a field across from the Youngstown Water Department’s office on West Avenue, and she had been stabbed 81 times.
Her family said they were aware of Carpenter’s long-time drug addiction, beginning from chronic back and shoulder pain. She had been an addict for close to a decade and had a son who was just seven when she died.
Investigators said Carpenter had been living with Hacket and another woman at the time, and Hackett was her supplier.Watch: Mother of Youngstown murder victim speaks out
For family members, watching Collena Carpenter’s life playing out in court has been heartbreaking.
“No matter what she did, she didn’t deserve to be treated like she was or killed like she was. They took away any chance of her ever getting her life or her son back,” said Collena’s mother, Connie Carpenter.
Connie Carpenter said her daughter was only 30 when she died. She described her daughter as a great mother, putting her son’s needs ahead of anyone else.
“She was the most loyal person, family that you’d ever meet. She had a smile that would light up the room when she walked into it, and she wasn’t just my daughter, she was my best friend,” she said.
Authorities say Hackett killed Collena Carpenter, possibly because she owed him money for drugs.
Court records show when Hackett was just 16, he was sent to prison in connection with a murder and robbery from the late 70s. He was actually on parole when he was arrested for Carpenter’s death.
Sister Lorene Lane said Carpenter had been trying to turn her life around in her last weeks of life.
“We found out after she died that she’d actually been calling a prayer hotline on a regular basis before her death and seeking help and forgiveness,” Lane said.
Hackett’s trial started last week after a number of delays — more than three-and-a-half years after Carpenter’s murder. Her family is now finally looking to see some closure, although they know nothing will bring Carpenter back.
Closing arguments in the trial will take place Tuesday. Hackett is serving as his own attorney.