Son/brother of murder victims in court, but only for driving offense; authorities appear to be holding cards very close
Published DateLACONIA — The Belmont man who was the subject of a brief but intensive police manhunt Friday afternoon after his mother and brother were founded chopped to death earlier that morning in the Winnisquam home the three shared is being held in jail on $200 cash bail for a relatively minor traffic offense.
Judge Jim Carroll ordered Shawn Carter, 31, of 20 Sunset Drive held after his video appearance in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division yesterday for one count of operating after his license was suspended and one count of breach of bail. He has not been charged with any offense related to Friday's grisly discovery at 20 Sunset Drive in Belmont and authorities have not publicly announced that he is even a person of interest in the case.
But in a move that seemed highly unusual considering the relatively minor nature of a driving violation Ryan McFarland, an attorney for the Department of Safety represented the state in court yesterday and asked for $1,000 cash bail.
He said Carter was operating without a license when he was freed by a bail commissioner after being served by Belmont Police on May 22. He argued that any violation, especially one that was committed two days after he was served for operating after suspension should be considered a violation of the good behavior provision of May 22. He also said Carter owned $310 to Concord District Court.
The head of the Laconia Public Defenders Office Jesse Friedman said Carter was in jail for two days when he arrested for the first driving after revocation in January of 2012 and was given $50 per day or $100 credit. Since Carter has been in jail since Friday or five days since his arrest, Friedman said he should get an additional $250 credit meaning the $310 is paid.
Carroll said he would not dismiss the breach of bail charge but would give it "minimal consideration as to bail" and agreed the $310 fine was paid in full.
While arguing for $1,000 cash bail McFarland also said the state was preparing paperwork to charge Carter for being an habitual offender for three major driving violations including the January 2012 driving after suspension, a DWI in 2004, and Friday's charge of driving after suspension.
McFarland argued Carter posed a danger because he continues to drive even though he has no valid drivers license. "The message just isn't getting through," he said.
Friedman argued that $1,000 cash-only bail for Carter, who he said is disabled and indigent, was tantamount to no bail and added he's never seen someone held on $1,000 cash for operating after suspension.
"There are no aggravating circumstances that warrant cash bail," Friedman said, arguing Carter was arrested after a BOLO (be on the lookout for) was issued but without any other information, he could argue that the police had no reason to stop him on Friday in the first place. Carroll told Friedman his argument was one for trial and not an arraignment.
After the BOLO for Carter was issued May 24 — warning police he may be armed and dangerous — court paperwork indicates he was spotted by Tilton Police at 2:19 p.m. driving on Route 3 near Pirates Cove mini-golf course and stopped minutes later.
Two hours earlier, police found Carter's mother Priscilla Carter,59, and his brother Timothy Carter, 39, chopped to death after going to the house for what was described by Belmont Police as a welfare check.
To date, no one has been charged with the double murder and Belmont Police issued a Twitter feed that said there was no danger to the community asking anyone with any information is asked to contact the Office of the N.H. State Attorney. In New Hampshire, the Attorney Generals Office investigates and prosecutes homicides.
Carter, a thin man with dark brown hair, stared into the camera at yesterday's video arraignment — he was at the Belknap County Jail — while Friedman argued that the breach of bail was "unconstitutional" because their client was not out on bail prior to his arrest.
Friedman said the state's offer of proof concerned a $310 fine that was unpaid in the 6th Circuit Court, Concord Division and when Belmont Police went to serve him on May 22, he was given a summons to appear and there was no bail involved.
He agreed to Friedman's request for an expedited trial for the two misdemeanors and scheduled it for June 11.
McFarland, who was accompanied by two other people, declined comment. When asked where the other two people were employed, he again said "No comment." All three left together.
As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Carter was still in the Belknap County Jail.