Published DateFRANKLIN — After about two hours of motions and testimony in a trial for an operating a motor vehicle after suspension trial yesterday in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division, Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon found Shawn Carter, 31, guilty. Carter is also being held for the second-degree murder of his mother and brother.
After a defense motion to suppress the motor vehicle stop for want of probable cause evidence, Gordon ruled that the state had met its burden for stopping the car.
Gordon sentenced Carter to serve 15 days in the Belknap County House of Corrections and pay a $500 fine plus a $120 administrative fee. He has been incarcerated since May 24, the day he was charged with the traffic violation and the day Priscilla Carter, 59, and Timothy Carter, 39 were found "chopped" to death in the Sunset Drive home in the Winnisquam section of Belmont shared by all three.
Incarcerated on the traffic violation for 48 days and either unwilling or unable to post $200 cash bail, it was July 9 before the N.H. Office of the Attorney General charged Carter with homicide for the two deaths.
The homicides are being prosecuted by the state attorney generals office while the traffic violation, trial was conducted by the state police prosecutor, who was very careful yesterday to not let potential evidence for the homicide case come into play. The words homicide or murder were not spoken and the state's contention yesterday was the operating after suspension and the homicides are two separate offenses.
Yesterday's trial was really about a motion by the defense to suppress the traffic stop and oral arguments hinged on an attempt by them to get a state police prosecutor to explain why the police issued a "Be On the Look Out for (BOLO) alert for the car and Carter in the first place.
Public Defender Eric Wolpin argued that when Gordon ordered the state police prosecution to produce the reason for the BOLO for Carter and the car, the defense was given 61 pages of dispatch logs but nothing he felt justified the BOLO alert.
The state prosecutor put two Belmont Police officers on the stand as witnesses and both testified they went to a call for two deaths at 20 Sunset Drive. They both said there were three people living in the house, two were dead and one, Shawn Carter, was not at the house. One of the officers who stopped Carter at Pirate's Cove said a red 1999 Monte Carlo belonging to Priscilla Carter was also not at the house and there was "concern that he wasn't there and the car wasn't there."
Nobody for the prosecution said a word about homicide or murder, only that two of three Carters were dead in the house.
Wolpin argued unsuccessfully that there was no known connection between the car, Carter, and the deaths before police issued a BOLO alert.
Both Belmont officers said there was concern for officer safety when they stopped the car but didn't say what triggered the concern. Police had been warned in the BOLO that Carter might be armed.
That Carter had had his drivers license suspended, for the second time, was known to police. The officers also said they only stopped the car and that's when they confirmed Carter was driving it. One of the officers knew Carter from a previous encounter.
Carter was taken into custody without further incident and charged with the traffic misdemeanor and breach of bail which was not prosecuted.