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Crime News Killer Motive

Texas Firefighter Had Horrific History Of Abusing Women, Dogs Before He Killed His Girlfriend

Family of Veronica Navarro lamented that they didn’t uncover Joe Carr’s long history of abuse — including killing puppies — before he murdered her.

By Erik Hawkins
Killer Motive Bonus: Veronica Navarro's Family Remembers Her Budding Relationship With A Childhood Friend

In June 2011, Texas firefighter Joe Carr killed his girlfriend, Veronica Navarro, allegedly in a fit of jealousy. He asphyxiated her, wrapped her in a tent, then weighted her down with paint cans and dumped her into Lake Travis, northwest of Austin.

In the premiere episode of “Killer Motive,” which airs Sunday nights on Oxygen, host Stephanie Gosk examines Carr and Navarro’s troubled relationship, and even interviews the convicted killer in prison — where he makes a claim about Navarro’s death that has never been publicly heard before.

However, before Navarro even met the 27-year-old single father, Carr exhibited disturbing behavior — much of it legally documented. Carr had been charged with assault and domestic violence against girlfriends and his ex-wife as far back as 2003, the Austin-American Statesman reported.

Ugly details of that abuse surfaced during Carr’s trial, at which former girlfriends and acquaintances testified against him. In 2009, he was found guilty of assaulting a family member, but was given deferred adjudication, according to the Statesman’s reporting.

A member of Carr’s church told the Statesman that Carr admitted to him assaulting his ex-wife and killing two her dogs.

Micheal Lee Jackson said Carr “seemed to get excited as he was reliving it … I didn’t see remorse,” according to the Statesman.

Carr was jealous and believed that his ex-wife gave more affection to her dogs than to him, Travis County Sheriff’s Detective Sylvia Leal told producers of “Killer Motive.”

“He told her, ‘You love these dogs more than me,’” before choking the dogs to death, Leal said. “One of the puppies she had loved a lot, he cut his tail off in front of her.”

“He’s an evil person,” Leal added. “He wasn’t who he said he was.”

Carr even assaulted one woman on a first date in 2005, Assistant District Attorney Amy Meredith told jurors during Carr’s 2014 trial, according to the Statesman — and it was a pattern that would continue through his murder of Veronica Navarro.

“He controls women,” Meredith said. “He has no regard for women whatsoever. Since he has been in jail, he has been trying to hit on [female corrections officers] … There is nothing that this defendant feels remorseful about.”

During trial, jurors — and Navarro’s family — heard testimony about Carr’s controlling, abusive behavior and drinking. A former girlfriend said that Carr pushed her down onto the ground, kissed her and bit her lip after she tried to get out of a date with him because she smelled alcohol on his breath, according to the Statesman.

The woman told jurors that Carr took her phone and threw it, but she managed to get away, and later filed for a protective order. Still, she didn’t press charges when Carr later violated it, the Statesman reported.

“I was afraid,” the woman told the court. “I didn’t want anything to do with him.”

Carr was eventually found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence, and was sentenced to a total of 80 years in prison. After his sentencing, Navarro’s family said they were thankful for the closure, but wish that they could have reached Veronica before Carr snapped.

“If I could have met these women who were lucky enough to get out of this relationship, I would have stopped [Veronica],” Navarro’s cousin, Manuela, said in a video taken by the Statesman. “At least we stopped him.”

For the whole tragic story of Veronica Navarro’s death, and the shocking new claim her killer makes exclusively to host Stephanie Gosk, watch Episode 1 of “Killer Motive” on Oxygen.com, and see all-new episodes every Sunday nights at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

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