ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — The woman who bore twin girls for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick said Thursday that she was living in a West Virginia motel around the time a police chief is accused of breaking into her eastern Ohio home.
Michelle Ross, 26, testified that ultrasound photos, surrogacy files and tax information were gone when she returned, that someone had riffled through photos; and that a plaster cast of her abdomen from when she was pregnant with her own son was misplaced.
Ross' testimony came in the trial in Belmont County Common Pleas Court of suspended Police Chief Barry Carpenter of Martins Ferry, where Ross lived. He is accused of breaking into her home in May and then trying to sell items related to the pregnancy to paparazzi, with the help of Police Chief Chad Dojack of neighboring Bridgeport.
Ross said the surrogacy agency moved her to the motel in May, when she was eight to nine months pregnant and uncomfortable. She said she had been a surrogate once before and had moved to Ohio from Florida.
Ross said she was not living in the home when a celebrity photographer contacted her to tell her the chiefs and others were trying to sell her personal items.
When asked by a defense attorney why she wrote about her surrogacy on MySpace.com, Ross said she was allowed to discuss it but couldn't say for whom she was carrying.
Ross said the surrogacy agency moved her to a series of cabins after it became known that she was Parker's surrogate. She said she lived in a hotel in Wheeling, W.Va., with her dog, cats and a python just before giving birth, while her son stayed with relatives.
She said she later delivered the twins in an emergency cesarean section.
Earlier Thursday, prosecutors played audio tapes of an investigator's interview with Carpenter in which the chief said he entered the woman's home because he saw the basement door wide open.
A police officer later testified that Carpenter, 32, told him, "I didn't take anything out of that house."
The tapes show Carpenter laughed when a state agent told him about the criminal investigation and later began crying during questioning.
Carpenter said on the tapes that he saw some "off the wall" items inside, including the plaster abdominal cast, when he entered Ross' home, and that he secured it and left.
Carpenter said Dojack called him and said paparazzi wanted information about the surrogate and would pay $20,000 for items. He said that he talked to the Belmont County prosecutor about it and that he didn't want anything to do with the photographers.
"They did hound me, and they were really wanting this stuff," Carpenter said.
The prosecutor, Chris Berhalter, testified that Carpenter called him to talk about a photo taken at Ross' home.
On the tapes, Carpenter told the investigator that he met with the photographers to tell them Ross did not live in the city anymore and that he refused to sell them anything.
When the investigator told Carpenter: "We have taped conversations of you offering to sell those items to paparazzi," the chief said he was joking.
A celebrity photographer testified Tuesday that Carpenter told him he had access to items belonging to Ross and that he never thought the chief was joking.
Carpenter faces several felony charges, including burglary, receiving stolen property and theft in office. He could face 21 1/2 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Dojack faces counts of complicity to burglary and complicity to receiving stolen property. His trial is set for January.
Parker, star of TV's "Sex and the City," and film actor Broderick are raising the twin girls, named Tabitha and Marion. They are not expected to testify.
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