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Daniel Matthew CARTER





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (15) - His uncle beat him with a large steel flashlight and threatened to tie him up and castrate him
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 16, 2002
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: June 11, 1987
Victim profile: His uncle, Jack Carter, 46
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Escambia County, Florida, USA
Status: Acquitted by a jury on March 5, 2004

photo gallery


Carter's first taste of freedom: Double-cheese pizza

Michael Stewart -

March 7, 2004

After 19 months in jail, 16-year- old Daniel Carter wanted a double-cheese pizza and a guitar.

"That's exactly what he got," Cindy Carter, Daniel's mother, said Saturday, nearly 24 hours after her son was acquitted of first-degree murder charges stemming from the July 2002 stabbing death of his uncle, Jack.

On Friday, an Escambia County jury deliberated three hours before finding the teen not guilty, following three days of testimony.

At 10:32 p.m. Friday, Daniel walked out of jail.

The death of Jack Carter, Daniel's incarceration and his vindication are in the past now, and Cindy Carter said her son is looking to the future. He worked his way through a GED manual while behind bars and plans to take adult high school classes at Pensacola Junior College.

"He could go ahead and take his GED," Cindy Carter said. "He doesn't want to do that. He wants to go to school."

For now, Daniel has no other plans. For almost two years of his young life, his every move was meticulously scheduled under the watchful eyes of adult caretakers, Cindy Carter said.

On Saturday, Daniel spent his first day of freedom at home, laying low and doing what most teenagers his age normally do: hanging out and talking with friends on the telephone.

But things aren't normal, Cindy Carter said. For one thing, her son has matured.

"It's incredible," she said. "You expect a lot of change over 19 months, especially under the circumstances. He's more introspective. Despite the horrible circumstances, he has become a more kind, gentler person."

Friends of Jack Carter don't agree, however, and have portrayed Daniel as a troubled teen who savagely killed his uncle with a rusty knife. Jack Carter's friends said he was a kind, outgoing man who never would hurt anyone.

Cindy Carter said during the trial that her brother, Jack, came to her Beulah home the night he was killed to help her discipline Daniel. She said Jack Carter went into a rage and began savagely beating his nephew.

"I have never seen Jack act aggressively," said Carla Thomas, 31, a friend of Jack Carter's and a bartender at Barracuda's on Navarre Beach, where he used to go occasionally. "Nobody can believe (Daniel) got off."

Daniel Carter said he acted in self-defense when he grabbed a knife to ward off his uncle, who was cut 10 times during the struggle, once fatally in the neck.

"The jury saw the truth. I just hope they can see the truth, too," Cindy Carter said of her brother's friends.

However, Daniel's legal problems are not over.

On April 16, he will appear in court to answer a charge that he tried to escape from a juvenile detention facility in August 2002. Authorities said Daniel popped ceiling tiles and unsuccessfully attempted to get out through the ceiling.

With 19 months of time served, it's questionable whether Daniel will face more jail time, said Katy Porter, who works with the child advocacy group Justice for Juveniles.

"We really truly believe they should do the right thing and drop the charges," Porter said.

Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer said he won't make a decision on how to proceed with the charge until Monday at the earliest.


Teen acquitted in uncle's death

Carter family seeks closure after verdict

Amber Bollman -

March 6, 2004

An Escambia County jury on Friday acquitted 16-year-old Daniel Carter of first-degree murder in the July 2002 stabbing death of his uncle, Jack Carter.

"Daniel believed all along that if a jury could be put in his bedroom that night, they would understand his actions," Cindy Carter said after her son's verdict was announced.

A crowd of tearful supporters exchanged hugs outside the courthouse Friday evening and made preparations to pick up Daniel from Escambia County Jail, where he has been held the past 19 months.

"We just want to get him home tonight," Cindy Carter said. "He's going to get to open his Christmas presents."

After three days of testimony, the six-person jury deliberated for nearly three hours and reached its verdict about 5:30 p.m.

Carter was 15 years old when his uncle bled to death inside his Beulah bedroom after a violent struggle. Jack Carter, 46, suffered 10 knife wounds to his body, including a fatal gash to the side of his neck.

Daniel Carter, who did not testify, maintained that he acted in self-defense after his uncle stormed into his bedroom, beat him with a large steel flashlight and threatened to tie him up and castrate him.

"It was a double loss for my family when my brother died and my son was arrested," Cindy Carter said. "I think we've still got a lot of wounds to heal.

"They won't be closed for a long time."

Daniel Carter had faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Patrece Cashwell said she believed she helped save the teenager "from the guillotine."

Brandon Howell, a juror in the case, said he and other jurors did not believe the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Though Daniel Carter admitted stabbing his uncle, the prosecution had to prove it was a premediatated act and not self-defense.

"We couldn't say 100 percent that he did it," said Howell, 20. "Nobody wants to put a guy away for something they're not sure he did."

Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer said he respects the jury's decision and understands its reservations about the case.

On the night of Jack Carter's death, the Navarre Beach man had been called to his sister's home to help discipline Daniel. Cindy Carter testified earlier in the week about the 20 minutes of screaming, sobbing and items being thrown as her brother and son argued.

She called Jack Carter to the home after becoming exasperated with Daniel's behavioral problems. She said in court that Jack Carter promised not to physically harm her son.

After Jack Carter's death, Daniel Carter claimed in interviews with investigators that he picked up a knife only to get his uncle to stop beating him.

"I just wanted him to stop, but he kept coming," Daniel Carter said hours after his arrest. The jury heard an audiotape of an interview conducted by a lead investigator in the case.

Rimmer, who argued that Daniel Carter planned to attack his uncle when he showed up to punish him, painted the teen as a troubled boy who was resented his uncle.

"Jack Carter confronted an angry, out-of-control teenager with a chip on his shoulder, a knife in his hand and murder in his heart," Rimmer said during his closing remarks.

Cashwell, however, portrayed Daniel Carter as "terrified and terrorized" when his uncle entered his room in a violent rage, smashing Daniel's belongings and ripping a telephone out of the wall when the teenager tried to call 911.

Jack Carter had two knives, a box of shotgun shells and a 7-foot length of rope with him when he was killed. He also had a loaded shotgun in his truck.

"He couldn't call 911, he couldn't get his mom, he couldn't get out of the room," Cashwell said. "Daniel Carter had nobody protecting him that day."

Two forensic pathologists presented conflicting statements about whether the wounds on Jack Carter's body appeared defensive or the result of a sudden struggle with a knife in close quarters.

Rimmer argued that even if Daniel Carter initially picked up the antique knife to fend off his uncle, he took his right to self-defense too far.

"He did not need to inflict that fatal blow," Rimmer said. "After he had cuts on his arms and blood dripping down his face, Jack Carter was a vanquished foe. He was at the mercy of Daniel."

Several children's-rights advocates rallied outside the courthouse after the verdict Friday. They were joyous over Daniel Carter's acquittal but critical of the fact that he was prosecuted as an adult for the killing.

"Daniel Carter was abused and beat by his uncle, but he was abused a second time by the state of Florida," said Donna Gallegos of the organization Justice for Juveniles.

Bishop Thomas Masters, a founding member of the group Under Our Wings, said minors never should be pushed into the adult court system.

"How can a child be 12 on a Monday and suddenly be considered 18 on a Tuesday?" he said.

Though acquitted of his uncle's murder, Daniel Carter still faces criminal charges for attempting to escape a juvenile detention facility two weeks after his arrest.

He was granted a $1,000 bond, and Cindy Carter said he was expected to be released from the jail Friday night.

His next court appearance for the attempted escape charge is scheduled for April 6.

"Hopefully they will drop this charge since he was being held there for something that he never should have been," Gallegos said. "Hopefully they will let him get on with the rest of his life."


Defense wraps up case in Carter murder trial

'Everything has been said,' defendant says

March 5, 2004

Amber Bollman -

Daniel Carter decided not to testify in his own defense Thursday, as attorneys finished presenting evidence at the 16-year- old's first-degree murder trial.

"I believe everything has been said that needed to be said," Carter told Circuit Judge Terry Terrell.

Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer and defense attorney Patrece Cashwell are expected to offer closing arguments this morning before the jury begins deliberations.

Carter, who faces life in prison if convicted, kept his head bowed as graphic photographs of his uncle's dead body and the room where his uncle was killed were displayed in court.

Former associate medical examiner Michael Berkland presented dozens of slides depicting knife wounds on Jack Carter's arms, chest, head and neck.

Jack Carter suffered at least 10 cuts during a violent struggle with his teenage nephew on the night of July 16, 2002.

Daniel Carter has maintained that he cut his uncle with an antique knife in self-defense.

In interviews with investigators, Carter said his uncle charged into his bedroom that night, pulled him out of bed by his hair and beat him with his fists, feet and a large steel flashlight for 20 minutes.

A recording of the frantic 911 call placed by Cindy Carter as her brother lay bleeding in her arms was played in court Thursday.

Jurors heard sobs and screams on the recording of the call.

"Why isn't somebody here?" Cindy Carter asked on the tape after explaining to an emergency dispatcher what had occurred. "He's bleeding to death."

Berkland discussed in detail the wounds Jack Carter suffered and explained the patterns of blood found spattered at the crime scene.

A forensic pathologist and crime scene analyst, Berkland said the evidence he reviewed seemed to support Daniel Carter's claims of a sudden struggle in the cramped bedroom.

"These are struggle kinds of injuries," Berkland said. "They're not wounds that seemed to be inflicted intentionally."

Berkland's statements contradicted earlier testimony by former District 1 Medical Examiner Gary Cumberland, who performed the autopsy on Jack Carter's body.

Cumberland had said many of the wounds appeared to be "classic defense injuries," indicating that Jack Carter was trying to fend off an attack.

Rimmer reminded jurors after Berkland's testimony that Berkland was discharged from his position by Cumberland last year.

In addition to autopsy and crime scene photos, Cashwell presented the ripped, bloody T-shirt Daniel Carter was wearing the night of his uncle's death and two knives and a 7-foot piece of rope that Jack Carter was carrying when he was killed.

Daniel Carter told investigators his uncle had threatened to tie him up and castrate him for disobeying his mother and getting into trouble.

An employee at the juvenile assessment center where Carter was taken after his arrest said the teenager did not appear angry -- just "traumatized and glazed over."

On Wednesday, friends and neighbors of Jack Carter defended the Navarre Beach man's character -- saying he was not violent and did not appear to be angry or upset that night.

However, his brother, David Carter, said tearfully on Thursday that he and Jack often received violent punishment as children.

He said they often were beaten by their mother, who David Carter said equated discipline with physical pain.

While Cashwell has argued that Daniel Carter was trying to protect himself from an abusive and enraged uncle, witness Brian Voeks testified Wednesday that he heard the teenager make a comment about slitting his uncle's throat earlier on the day of their fatal struggle.


Young defendant: 'He kept coming'

Jury hears police tape of Carter interview

Amber Bollman -

March 4, 2004

About 12 hours after he was taken into custody, Daniel Carter told an investigator he believed that brandishing a knife was the only way to make his uncle stop beating him.

A 20-minute recorded interview between Carter, then 15, and Escambia County homicide investigator Frank Fillingim was played for jurors Wednesday during the second day of Carter's first-degree murder trial.

"It was the only thing I knew to do," Carter said in the interview, conducted the day after his 46- year-old uncle, Jack, bled to death after a violent struggle inside the teenager's bedroom.

"I just wanted him to stop, and he wouldn't. He kept coming. If I had known I would have killed him, I would have just let him beat me."

Daniel Carter, now 16, faces life in prison if convicted.

Although Daniel Carter maintains he acted in self-defense after his uncle stormed into his room and attacked him on the night of July 16, 2002, a friend of the defendant Carter testified Wednesday that he heard the teenager say he planned to slit Jack Carter's throat.

Brian Voeks, who was 18 and residing with Daniel Carter and his mother at the time of Jack Carter's death, said Daniel Carter was worried that his uncle was coming to their Beulah home to punish him for rummaging through Jack Carter's old magazines.

Voeks testified that on the day Jack Carter was killed, Daniel repeatedly mentioned how nervous he was.

"He didn't want me not to be there when his uncle came over," Voeks said.

At the time, Daniel Carter was holding the antique knife used to kill Jack Carter, Voeks said.

"He said that if his uncle started beating him, he was going to slit his throat," Voeks said.

Defense attorney Patrece Cashwell grilled Voeks, who has given conflicting statements to authorities in the past.

On the night of Jack Carter's killing, Voeks said nothing to investigators about Daniel Carter making plans to use the knife against his uncle.

"I didn't tell the police because Daniel was my best friend, and I didn't want to hurt him," Voeks said. "I didn't want him to be in trouble for premeditated murder like he is now."

Voeks also said Daniel Carter had accused his uncle of "pushing him around" in the past.

"I still didn't think he was going to come over there," Voeks said. "I have a lot of guilt over this."

In the interview played for jurors, Daniel Carter said his uncle was out of control with rage, using a large steel flashlight to break items in his bedroom and strike him in the neck.

"He wouldn't stop," Carter said during the interview. "He wouldn't talk to me."

Although Carter admitted to investigators that he was angry, he said it wasn't "to the extent" that he wanted to harm his uncle.

Daniel Carter said his uncle ripped a telephone out of the wall when he tried to call 911 and only swung the knife toward Jack Carter when he felt it was the only way to protect himself.

"I just wanted him to leave me alone," Carter said during the interview.

Jack Carter suffered 10 knife wounds, including a fatal gash to his neck.

In other testimony, Marni Jamison, the live-in girlfriend of Jack Carter, spoke about a phone message she received from Daniel's mother, Cindy Carter, earlier that day.

"She said she was at her wit's end with Daniel," Jamison said. "She wanted Jack to come help her with him."

Jamison, along with several more of Jack Carter's friends, said he did not appear to be angry the evening he died.

She said he didn't seem impaired by drugs or alcohol when he left their condominium and began driving to Cindy Carter's home.

"He said Cindy was in fear for her life, and he needed to be there for her," Jamison said.

Laboratory results showed that Jack Carter had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent, along with Valium, traces of a painkiller and anabolic steroids in his system.

Forensic toxicologist David Black said the type and amount of steroids detected in his body would not have been likely to cause violent, aggressive behavior.

Several Escambia County sheriff's deputies testified Wednesday about the night they were called to the Carters' home.

Daniel Carter was crying, rocking back and forth and talking to himself, deputies said.

Crime-scene technician Phillip Davies testified that he collected two knives, a box of shotgun shells and a 7-foot length of rope from Jack Carter's clothing.

Cashwell challenged Fillingim about his failure to instruct investigators to collect several pieces of evidence from Jack Carter's truck.

"Do you try to find evidence that shows premeditated murder, or do you try to find evidence that shows justifiable homicide?" Cashwell asked.

Fillingim said the evidence was collected impartially and is not intended to support any individual's version of events.

Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer completed his case against Carter on Wednesday.

Cashwell is expected to present her case today.

Circuit Judge Terry Terrell said he hopes the jury can begin deliberations on Friday.

It is not known whether Daniel Carter will testify.

Advocates protest Carter trial

Several children's rights advocates gathered outside the courthouse Wednesday to voice their opposition to the charges against Daniel Carter.

Bill King, of the organization Kids in Court, said he had seen no evidence of premeditation in the prosecution's presentation.

Bishop Thomas Masters, of Under Our Wings, said there is no reason Carter should have been charged as an adult.

"Once again, Pensacola has embarrassed Florida and embarrassed the entire nation," Masters said. "Children and adults are different, and they should be treated as such."


Another teenager faces life in prison

By Bill Kaczor - The Associated Press

Thursday, March 4, 2004 -

PENSACOLA -- Cindy Carter tried to stem the blood flowing from a knife wound in her brother's neck, but the respiratory therapist knew from emergency room experience that the four-inch gash was fatal.

"I just held his head," she tearfully recalled in an interview with The Associated Press. "I said 'Just go to sleep. It won't hurt.'"

Emotional pain, however, remains for the 52-year-old single mother because she also may lose her only child, Daniel Carter, to a lifetime in prison. Jury selection begins March 1 in the 16-year-old boy's trial on an adult charge of murdering his 46-year-old uncle, Jack Carter.

Daniel's case is one of several that have prompted an outcry against Florida's prosecution of juveniles as adults.

He was 15 when he slashed his uncle with a large hunting knife inherited from his grandfather. He claims it was self-defense against an adult who attacked in a drunken rage and threatened to castrate him. Jack Carter died July 16, 2002, in Daniel's bedroom at his mother's house in Beulah, a rural community near Pensacola.

The sandy-haired teen, being held without bail at the Escambia County jail, turned down a plea offer promising a prison term of no more than 12 years for manslaughter. Instead, he will be tried for first-degree premeditated murder. The penalty is life without parole.

Defense lawyer Patrece Cashwell said she was baffled by the severity of the charge.

"His uncle came over there, broke into his room and began beating him," Cashwell said. "Daniel was in his room and in his bed."

Cashwell took over the case after his first lawyer, James Stokes, was killed in a plane crash June 11, Daniel's 16th birthday.

Medical experts are expected to offer conflicting testimony on whether Jack Carter's multiple knife wounds and cuts on Daniel's hands indicate which one had been the aggressor.

His mother said Daniel, a good marksman, has such a gentle nature that he would intentionally miss when hunting with family and friends.

"They just thought he was a horrible shot," Cindy Carter said. "He said 'I don't want to kill it, and I sure couldn't eat it if I did kill it.'"

Prosecutor David Rimmer declined to discuss the evidence.

"The main thing I have to deal with is the problem of sympathy that a jury may have for a child so young charged with a crime so severe," he said.

Rimmer also prosecuted two other Panhandle boys charged with murder. Alex and Derek King were 12 and 13 when they killed their father, Terry King, 40, with a baseball bat in November 2001.

A jury rejected first-degree murder charges but found them guilty of second-degree murder. Jurors later said they were convinced the boys had only aided a convicted child molester, not knowing another jury had acquitted him of the killing.

A judge threw out the convictions and the boys pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Alex was sentenced to seven years and Derek to eight in juvenile prison.

Several organizations and individuals have offered moral and financial support to Daniel and other juvenile defendants facing adult homicide charges.

Bill King, 54, a childless Vietnam veteran and former hospital security worker, is unrelated to the King brothers but moved here from Frederick, Md., to be closer to their family and the Carters.

"The injustice of putting an adult label on a kid is just too much," he said. "The only time they call a kid an adult is when they are trying to destroy him, and it's wrong."

The message "Dear God guide the lives of Alex-Derek and Daniel forever, Amen" rolls across an electric sign in Bill King's living room. He has given Daniel spending money for the jail commissary and says he is keeping up his Christmas tree until the teen is released.

The Jan. 29 release of Lionel Tate has offered a glimmer of hope to other juvenile murder defendants. Tate was 12 when he fatally beat 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick almost five years ago in Pembroke Pines. He initially claimed he had imitated wrestling moves seen on television but later said he leaped from a staircase and accidentally landed on the girl.

An appellate court reversed his conviction and life sentence, ruling his mental competency should have been tested before trial. Tate then pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a deal with prosecutors. He was freed with time served.

Daniel is taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder and suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, his mother said, but Cashwell was unsure the Tate ruling would affect his case because he has undergone testing.

"He's actually a very well-grounded, soft-spoken young man," the lawyer said. "He's not the type of kid who likes to fight."

His uncle, however, was a 6-1, 180-pound bodybuilder and Kung Fu expert -- two inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than Daniel -- with a short temper, Cindy Carter said.

Tests disclosed traces of muscle-building steroids and a prescription anti-anxiety drug in Jack Carter's blood. He also had a blood-alcohol level of 0.l3 and 0.17 percent, well over the 0.08 percent level for driving.

Cindy and Jack Carter were raised by their mother in Liberty, Texas, after she was divorced. An older brother and sister lived with their father.

The two younger siblings were very close, and court records show Cindy Carter collected a substantial sum from her brother's life insurance when he died. She and Daniel's father never married and he has remained out of the picture, she said.

Jack Carter worked as a time-share salesman and auto dealership finance manager. He shared his Navarre Beach home with a girlfriend, Marni Jamison. She told a grand jury that he had gone to his sister's house that fatal day because she feared for her life.

Cindy Carter, however, said she wanted him to talk with her son -- not beat him -- because she had larned that Daniel and a friend were planning to obtain and sell marijuana. She said Jack Carter's anger grew when she told him Daniel also had gotten into his surfing magazines stored in her barn.

She was in her bedroom when he burst into Daniel's room at about 10:30 p.m. but said she could hear a couple slaps.

"My brother was shouting at him very loudly, as brutal a tongue-lashing as I have ever heard," she said. She recalled that he told Daniel not to hurt her by getting into trouble again.

Cindy Carter was home- schooling Daniel because he had been expelled from high school after an arrest on a prescription drug charge later dropped. Daniel also had spent two years in an alternative middle school after turning in marijuana other boys had given him, she said.

The confrontation in Daniel's room escalated. Cindy Carter said she could hear her brother banging the bed, shouting "This could be your head," and then "I'm going to hog tie you, strip your clothes off, and I'm going to give you a beating you won't forget."

She said she then heard him threatening to castrate Daniel and his television crashing to the floor.

"There was this very, very brief scuffling," she said. "As I reached the door, Daniel screamed 'Mommy, mommy, Uncle Jack's dying.'"


Teenager's mom tells of deadly encounter

Sit-down wasn't to get violent, she says

March 3, 2004

By Amber Bollman -

Cindy Carter broke down in tears Tuesday morning as she remembered opening the door to her 15-year-old son's bedroom to find him covered in blood and her brother dying from a gash to his neck.

Daniel Carter, who is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2002 death of his uncle, Jack Carter, shook slightly as his mother testified during the opening day of his trial.

"The practical part of me knew that he was going to die, but the sister part of me just kept saying, `No, don't leave me. I love you,' " Cindy Carter said as she wept.

"He never said anything to me, but he looked at me and then he began to lose consciousness."

Jack Carter suffered multiple knife wounds to his chest, arms, head and neck during a violent struggle inside his nephew's bedroom on the night of July 16, 2002.

Daniel Carter, who now is 16 and faces life in prison if convicted, maintains that he was protecting himself against his enraged uncle, who was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs at the time of his death.

Circuit Judge Terry Terrell is presiding over the case.

Under questioning from Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer and defense attorney Patrece Cashwell, Cindy Carter recounted the 20 minutes of shouting, cursing and sobbing she overheard from down the hall in her own bedroom.

Cindy Carter, testifying for the prosecution, said she heard profanity-filled outbursts from her brother and the sound of objects being thrown and slammed around the room as Jack Carter confronted her son.

"He'd start screaming and calling Daniel names, and then he'd calm down, and I'd think it was over," Cindy Carter testified. "Then he would start raging again."

Carter, a single mother, testified that she had become exasperated with the behavior of her son in the days before Jack Carter's death.

She had heard rumors that Daniel Carter and a friend, Brian Voeks, were planning to purchase marijuana and sell it. She also found that the pair had rummaged through a box of old surfing magazines that Jack Carter stored in the family's barn.

"I had talked at length with Daniel, and I felt like he wasn't listening to me," Cindy Carter said. "I had talked to him as much and in as many ways as I could, and it seemed like I had run out of things to say."

Cindy Carter said she called her brother, with whom she had a very close relationship, in the hopes that he would have a "man-to-man" talk with Daniel and set him straight.

"He promised me that he wasn't going to beat my child," Cindy Carter testified. "He said he was going to come in and make some noise, and I said that noise was fine, but beating was not."

The two talked several times on the day of the deadly confrontation, and Cindy Carter said she reiterated that she wanted her son to be disciplined - but not abused.

Jack Carter initially told his sister that he would stop by her Beulah home to talk with Daniel later that week. He called her from his cell phone at about 10 p.m. on the night of his death to say he was in Gulf Breeze and on his way there.

Cindy Carter removed all the guns and knives she could find from the house, left the family's back door unlocked and went to her bedroom.

"Jack told me to stay there in my bedroom and let him handle it," she said in court Tuesday. "He promised me he wasn't going to hit Daniel."

When Jack Carter arrived at the home, Cindy Carter said she heard a bang as he yanked open the door to Daniel's room and slammed it behind him.

She then heard the commotion begin as Jack Carter ordered his nephew out of bed and began cursing at him, "punctuating what he was saying," by breaking things in the teenager's room.

Jack Carter threatened to hogtie Daniel, take him behind the barn and beat him, Cindy Carter said.

When she heard her brother threaten to castrate her son, Cindy Carter -- who had a broken foot at the time -- said she started walking toward Daniel's bedroom.

As she walked down the hall, she heard a scuffle and Daniel's voice screaming at his uncle to get away from him.

Moments later, she heard her son say, "Mommy, mommy, Uncle Jack's dying."

In addition to testimony from Cindy Carter, jurors also heard from former Medical Examiner Gary Cumberland, who performed the autopsy on Jack Carter's body and explained his injuries.

Bruce Goldberger, a University of Florida professor who works in the school's Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, testified that Jack Carter had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent at the time of his death.

He also had Valium and the painkiller hydrocodone in his system, Goldberger said.

Combined with alcohol, he said the drugs would have a "sedating" effect and could have impaired Jack Carter's ability to defend himself from an attack.

Carter also tested positive for anabolic steroids, which Cashwell said could have caused the opposite reaction in Jack Carter.

In her opening statement, Cashwell said Jack Carter "terrorized" his nephew for 20 minutes in an out-of-control rage and that Daniel Carter was trying to protect himself from harm.

The teenager has been incarcerated for 19 months. It is not known whether he will testify in his own defense.

The prosecution hopes to finish calling witnesses today.


Jury seated in Carter trial

Sixteen-year old accused of first degree murder in uncle's stabbing

March 2, 2004

Amber Bollman -

Daniel Carter sat in a courtroom Monday afternoon looking over a list of 46 strangers' names.

It was the first time in 19 months the 16-year-old had worn something besides a jail uniform.

His hands - kept in shackles in previous court appearances - were free, and his shaggy hair was parted and pulled away from his face with bobby pins his attorney, Patrece Cashwell, had in her purse.

After several hours of questioning, Cashwell and Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer selected eight Escambia County residents - four men and four women - as jurors in Carter's first-degree murder trial. Six will make up the panel; two are alternates.

Opening statements are scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

Carter was 15 when he fatally stabbed his uncle, Jack Carter, with an antique knife in July 2002.

He has maintained that he acted in self-defense, protecting himself from his 46-year-old uncle during a violent struggle inside the teenager's bedroom.

Jack Carter was larger, trained in the martial arts and, according to Cashwell, had a blood-alcohol level "more than twice the legal limit" when he drove to the Beulah home where the teenager lived with his mother. He also had "drugs in his system" on the night of his death, Cashwell said before jury selection began Monday.

Rimmer has pointed to the 10 knife wounds on Jack Carter's body as proof that Daniel's attack was premeditated, with enough time for "reflective thought."

On Monday, Rimmer and Cashwell asked potential jurors if they could handle viewing graphic photographs of the wounds on Jack Carter's body and if they felt they could convict a juvenile on adult murder charges.

If convicted, Daniel Carter faces life in prison. He previously has turned down an offer to plead no contest to manslaughter with a maximum possible sentence of 12 years.

With Daniel Carter's mother, Cindy Carter, sitting in the courtroom, Rimmer asked the women in the group whether they had ever been in her situation - raising a child without a father in the home. About a half-dozen said they had.

Cindy Carter stayed in the line of her son's sight throughout the day, leaning forward in her seat. Since her son's arrest and her brother's death, she has received support from several advocacy groups opposed to minors being prosecuted as adults.

Donna Gallegos, a spokeswoman for Justice for Juveniles, is hopeful about the teen's chances for a fair trial.

"He's been locked away for two Christmases and a birthday," she said. "But he really and truly believes that a jury of adults will see the truth. Lord hope they do."

Gallegos and several other Carter supporters held prayer vigils throughout the weekend hoping the teen will be exonerated.

Rob Rockholz, a longtime friend of Jack Carter, hopes for a different outcome.

"I want to see justice served," Rockholz said. "Daniel killed my closest friend and that ripped something out of my body too."

Rockholz said Jack Carter went to his sister's home on the night he was killed to help her get Daniel - a rebellious youth who had struggled with drug abuse and behavioral problems - under control.

"That wasn't the first time, either," he said. "They're acting like Daniel is this innocent little angel, but he wasn't. He used to be a good kid, but at some point over the years, he started to change.

"He's going to have to face the consequences of his actions."

On Monday, Rimmer asked potential jurors if they had experience dealing with teenagers who had drug problems. He also asked whether the use of force in an act of self-defense could "go too far."

Cashwell warned potential jurors that if they were selected they would be dealing with issues of child abuse and questioned them about their own practices for disciplining children.

"Where do you draw that line between punishment and abuse?" Cashwell probed.

She also asked the group of potential jurors about their exposure to anabolic steroids and the so-called " 'roid rage" that is a known side effect of the drugs.

Rockholz said the version of Jack Carter defense attorneys have depicted bears no resemblance to the man he was walking arm-in-arm with on Navarre Beach two days before Carter was killed.

"He wasn't some big kung fu master who liked to rough guys up, and any medicine he was taking was prescribed to him," Rockholz said. "It's hard to hear them portray my friend like that.

"There was a scuffle inside the house that night, but that's no reason to stab a guy 10 times."



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