Monday, December 13, 2010

Shan Carter and Keith Richardson – their altercation on February 5, 1997

In my blog posted December 3, 2010, I erred in my statement regarding the February 5, 1997 incident involving Shan Carter and Keith “Boo Rock” Richardson. I mistakenly stated that the prosecution did not make reference to this incident which was also a case of self-defense. Mr. Carter was quick to correct me, as the prosecution did, in fact, use the case in both the trials against Carter for the murder of Donald Brunson and the deaths of Tyrone Baker and 8 year-old Demetrius Green. However, prosecutors contended that Keith Richardson was unarmed. The same position they took in the Tenth and Dawson shooting… namely that Tyrone Baker was unarmed when he was shot by Shan Carter.

As hard as I try, the Brunson and Tenth and Dawson cases against Carter are so rife with legal corruption, intrigue, perjured statements, and the total absence of rationale and logic that even the simplest assumption should be made only with much trepidation. The lengths that the state of North Carolina went through to put Shan Carter on Death Row is mind-boggling, to say the least. Again, I apologize for the error in the December 3rd blog regarding Richardson, and will set the record straight about that incident presently. (Unlike the NC State Bar, MSNBC, NBC and other mainstream media, and Duke University, I believe in taking responsibility for my mistakes, apologizing for them, correcting them, and trying to see that future mistakes are avoided.)

Setting the stage: in Wilmington, North Carolina, on January 1, 1997, nearly one month after the kidnapping and murder of drug-dealer Donald Brunson by Kwada Temoney and two other individuals (Shan Carter had no prior knowledge or involvement in that crime), Shan and Kwada Temoney broke into and entered the home of drug dealer Keith Richardson for the purpose of committing larceny. A silent alarm tipped off the police who arrived shortly and disrupted the burglary. Shan was apprehended and jailed for breaking and entering Richardson’s residence, but Shan bonded out of jail shortly thereafter.

Although Richardson was well known on the street as a drug dealer, Shan did not know the man personally, and Richardson did not know him. And although Richardson had deadly retribution on his mind regarding the break-in, unlike Tyrone Baker, he did not broadcast his intentions. However, it was evident that Richardson wanted to settle a score with Carter because he went around the neighborhood with Carter’s mug-shot photo (which he received from Carter’s bail bondsman) asking people on the street for information about Carter.

On February 5, 1997, Shan and Michael T. “Julius” Jones were walking to visit with Kwada Temoney. Keith Richardson spotted them and called out. Shan stopped while Julius Jones continued walking. Richardson proceeded to ask Shan what his name was, and Shan refused to tell him, and began to walk on. Richardson then walked back to his car and drove ahead of Carter and Jones, and then proceeded to get out of his car. He pulled out a gun from his back pocket and said, “Your name Shawn,” at which point Shan pulled from his shoulder holster his .357 magnum and started firing it at Richardson. Keith Richardson was struck in the forearm as he turned and ran. Carter walked away in the opposite direction.

In an affidavit by Julius Jones in 2005, he affirmed that he saw Keith Richardson pull a gun, which he thought looked like a .22 caliber firearm. Although Shan’s attorney Richard Miller was aware that Julius Jones was present and witnessed the shooting involving Shan and Keith Richardson, Miller did not call Jones as a witness to refute Richardson’s testimony in the Brunson trial that he was unarmed. After Shan was convicted of the Brunson murder and sentenced to life, he faced trial on charges of first degree murder in the deaths of Baker and Green in the incident at Tenth and Dawson. During that trial, however, Keith Richardson refused to testify for the prosecution, even under threat of contempt charges. So prosecutors used the trial transcript from the Brunson case to get across to the jurors their claim that Richardson was unarmed when he was shot by Carter. Again, the defense for Shan Carter refused to bring Jones to the witness stand to testify that Richardson was armed.

To say that Carter had ineffective counsel for both trials is an understatement. His attorneys not only took as much money from Carter’s family as possible to represent him, but they acted at odds to his best interests. Failure to call Jones to testify is but one instance of gross negligence on behalf of Carter’s attorneys… but as you will see from narrative and documentation in upcoming blogs, the pitifully inexplicable and inept defense of Carter was, more likely than not, very intentional. There has got to be something wrong when Shan Carter is convicted in the capital murder Brunson case when: (1) Shan Carter is unable to be linked by eyewitness or forensic or physical evidence to Brunson’s murder; (2) Brunson prosecutors are only able to present hearsay testimony (which the judge should never have allowed to begin with) by witnesses who are paid for testimony, are drug abusers, have mental health issues requiring involuntary commitment to a mental institution, and whose polygraph exams with respect to the Brunson case show deception; and (3) prosecutors suppress exculpatory DNA evidence taken from masks worn by the three Brunson murder suspects… (when such exculpatory evidence was used to dismiss charges against other suspects).

Why the lead defense attorney Richard Miller failed to produce an eyewitness (Julius Jones) to refute the prosecution’s claim that Keith Richardson was unarmed, is anybody’s guess. Just as mysterious, is why Miller strongly urged Shan Carter’s mother and father to try and convince their son to accept a plea deal in which he would admit guilt to murdering Brunson in exchange for a 100 year sentence… when the prosecution was pursuing the death penalty when they had no substantive case. Although Mr. Carter has since passed away, Mrs. Carter related to me that when she and her husband told Attorney Richard Miller that the decision about whether to cop a plea would have to be Shan’s, Miller cursed at them both. In losing a case that any defense attorney worth his/her salt should have handily prevailed, Richard Miller received a promotion shortly thereafter to the position of Regional Capital Defender.

Shan Carter has always maintained his innocence in events related to the kidnapping and death of drug-dealer Donald Brunson in December 1996. Prosecutors had to put together a case that did not exist. The judge in the case fought Shan at every turn when it came to ruling from the bench, and the defense attorney collected his fee from the Carters, but did little to earn it.

The jurors, although duped into reaching the wrong verdict, did apply at least a scintilla of logic when they rejected Prosecutor John Sherrill’s bid for the death penalty based on the fact that the one person who was actually forensically linked to the murder of Donald Brunson (Kwada Temoney) was given a life sentence in exchange for implicating Shan Carter… an innocent man. One would be hard pressed to find a case of greater injustice in North Carolina or the country, period.

Below is a link to the affidavit of Michael T. “Julius” Jones in which he avers that Keith Richardson was indeed armed and the aggressor in the shootout with Shan Carter.



Walt said...

I am highly skeptical of the whole capital punishment regime in North Carolina. After seeing first hand how prosecutors handled the Allen Gell and Daryl Hunt cases, I have a difficult time believing just about every capital case they bring. After seeing the Gell case, I thought it just wouldn't happen again. But, then along comes Mike Nifong who tries to railroad three demonstrably innocent defendants in the lacrosse fiasco. Go figure!


Nifong Supporter said...

Walt said...
"I am highly skeptical of the whole capital punishment regime in North Carolina. After seeing first hand how prosecutors handled the Allen Gell and Daryl Hunt cases, I have a difficult time believing just about every capital case they bring. After seeing the Gell case, I thought it just wouldn't happen again. But, then along comes Mike Nifong who tries to railroad three demonstrably innocent defendants in the lacrosse fiasco. Go figure!


Hey, Walt. There's a big difference between the Alan Gell case and the Duke Lacrosse case. After Gell had been given a second trial because defense found that exculpatory evidence had been withheld by prosecution, the Attorney General's office proceeded to prosecute Gell. Also, in the Gregory Taylor case, after it had pretty much been established that no physical evidence linked Taylor to the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, prosecutor Tom Ford continued to fight to keep Taylor behind bars. However, in the Duke Lacrosse case, after Mr. Nifong determined that the rape charges were no longer appropriate, he dropped those charges, thereby acting as a true "Minister of Justice."

If you want an example of true injustice in the capital justice system, continue to follow the forthcoming blogs on Shan Carter's case. The prosecution won two death penalty convictions against Carter, tried to get a third but had to settle for a life sentence. Carter should never have been convicted of capital murder in any of the three cases referred to above. He had absolutely nothing to do with one death, another was in self-defense, and yet another was tragically accidental. In winning the convictions, the prosecution had the help of judges, the SBI lab, and defense attorneys supposedly representing Carter. This case is truly an outrage, and should dwarf any displeasure you have regarding Mike Nifong's handling of the Duke Lacrosse case.