The Donald Brunson kidnap/murder.
On December 6, 1996, at approximately 3:00 am, a home invasion took place at the Wilmington, NC house that 27 year-old Donald Brunson shared with his girlfriend Ana Santiago and her children. According to initial reports by Ms. Santiago, three masked invaders beat and kidnapped Brunson in an attempt to find his stash of drug and gambling money. Brunson’s beaten body with a fatal bullet wound was later found near Santiago’s car which was used in the kidnapping. The car contained two masks and a toboggan cap which were used to shield the identities of the intruders. DNA evidence from these articles linked Kwada Temoney to the crime, but excluded Shan Carter. Mr. Carter has always maintained his innocence in this crime, stating that he was at home with his wife during the early morning hours when the crime was committed.
The deaths of Tyrone Baker/Demetrius Green.
In November 1996, the month prior to Brunson’s death, Shan Carter, along with Kwada Temoney and Damont White, burglarized the apartment of Tyrone Baker, a drug-dealer from New York. They had taken a coat, boots, and a few other items before coming across a cache of $40,000 which they evenly split. Baker had taken White into his confidence somewhat, and suspected he (White) had a part in the theft. Baker kidnapped White in broad daylight, held him for approximately six hours and pistol whipped him to get information about the burglary. Word was soon on the street that Baker intended to kill those who stole his money, and according to his reputation, Baker was one to follow through on his threats. On February 16, 1997, a couple of months after the burglary of Baker, Shan Carter parked his car on the corner of Ten and Dawson Street. Kwada Temoney was his passenger, and they exited the car with Carter heading for the corner store. In the periphery of his vision, he saw Temoney being forcefully sucker punched in the face by Tyrone Baker. (Temoney later told Carter that the blow knocked him unconscious.) Baker with a heavy field Army draped over his arm, concealing his hand and a possible weapon, menacingly advanced toward Carter at which time Carter withdrew his .357 magnum from his shoulder holster and fired low at Baker, with the intent of wounding, not killing him. The first bullet struck Baker in the thigh, but the recoil of the powerful weapon which was held in one hand forced the barrel of the gun higher… and when he squeezed off the second shot it caught Baker below the left rib cage as he had turned to his right in order to flee. As Baker ran from Carter, Carter followed at an angle in order to prevent Baker from using the corner of the building as a shield from which to return fire. As Baker ran across Tenth Street, Carter fired approximately three more rounds as motivation to keep Baker on the defensive. It was during this series that a bullet unintentionally struck 8 year-old Demetrius Green in the head killing him. As Baker collapsed Carter returned to his car, along with Temoney who had regained consciousness, and they left the scene. Before police arrived at the crime scene, Renee Barnes, a woman who sold drugs for Baker, went to his side and took his coat, and whatever it possibly concealed, along with his car keys. She then drove Baker’s car to his girlfriend’s house. The coat eventually ended up in New York. It was later that day that Carter learned that Baker had died from his wounds and surprisingly and remorsefully that an innocent bystander (Demetrius Green) had been killed.
February 18, 1997, two days after the Tenth and Dawson Street shooting, Carter and Temoney were arrested when leaving a Wilmington motel. They have both been in custody since that day. Temoney later entered a plea deal, confessing to killing Donald Brunson and implicating Carter as an accomplice in that crime. He did so in order to escape a possible death sentence. What subsequently happened to Carter is a total miscarriage of justice… sentenced to two death penalties and serving a life sentence.
The state of North Carolina, in securing death penalty convictions, was successful in its objective of seeking to put Shan Carter to death even though he did not commit a capital crime. Whether the state’s motive was due to one victim of the violence being an 8-year old boy, or if the defendant’s class and color was sufficient, is anyone’s guess. But the state is proceeding with its efforts to put to death a man who they very well know is not deserving of it. The judges, prosecutors, and the media-types are not dumb, but they believe the public in general is, and that is why they feel they can get away with it. Below I will set forth the scheme which I strongly believe led to the unjust capital convictions against Shan Carter.
That Shan Carter was responsible for the February 16, 1997 deaths of Tyrone Baker and Demetrius Green is not in dispute. Carter’s contention was that he shot Baker in self-defense, and he directed his gunfire with the intent to wound and not kill Baker. The tragic and unfortunate death of the 8 year-old boy was a horrific accident that Carter was not aware of until hours later when the story was carried on the news. The state’s prosecutors, however, argued to the jury that Carter’s actions in killing Tyrone Baker were deliberate and premeditated. And, using a little known and arbitrarily utilized legal statute, extended the capital charge in Baker’s case to apply to that in the case involving the boy’s death.
In order to turn the obvious self-defense death of Baker into one worthy of the consideration of capital punishment, the prosecution had to paint Carter into the monster that he was not. Up to this point, Shan Carter did sell crack cocaine, and he did burglarize residences thought to be unoccupied. He used his gun only for self-defense and never in the commission of a crime. Carter never robbed a bank, or an individual at gunpoint. He fired his weapon only on two occasions… both times in self-defense. The first time was on February 5, 1997 when another burglary victim of Carter’s, Keith Richardson confronted Carter and drew a pistol on Carter first (this has been documented by an affidavit by Julius Jones). The other time Carter fired his gun was on February 16, 1997 at Tenth and Dawson when he was threatened by Tyrone Baker, as described previously. A small-time petty thief, burglar, and drug dealer, yes… but Shan Carter was no cold-hearted trigger happy killer, as the prosecutors made him at to be in his trials in 2000 and 2001.
Kwada Temoney, on the other hand, more aptly fit the role of a criminal monster. He did use a gun to rob banks and individuals. Temoney had no compunction about shooting at the unarmed who posed him no threat. He shot Louis Tyson, a robbery victim in both legs, and allegedly fired shots at customers during a bank robbery. And it is Temoney who was tied to the murder/kidnapping of Donald Brunson. Carter will be the first to admit that he was involved with the monster Temoney in a couple of burglaries, but that is about it. And Carter had absolutely no prior knowledge or involvement in the crimes against Donald Brunson on December 6, 1996.
New Hanover prosecutors invested their efforts up until October 1998 trying to forensically link Shan Carter to the Brunson kidnap/murder, for they knew that if they were to prevail with serious charges against Carter in the Baker/Green deaths that they would need him convicted on more serious charges beforehand. The police and prosecutors then began using unethical and illegal practices to obtain hearsay testimony for which to charge and later try Carter for Brunson’s death.
Prosecutors wanted to convict Carter in the Brunson murder case before putting him on trial for the deaths of Baker and Green… charges which were in place long before prosecutors brought charges of murder against Carter for the Brunson murder. Therefore, prosecutors had to fast-track the Brunson case against Carter so that it’s probable guilty verdict could be used to elicit a serious conviction against him in the Baker/Green cases.
Part Two will be added to this blog tomorrow.