25th anniversary of the Shan Carter murders
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – It’s been a terrifying crime spree with no end in sight. Shan Carter and K’Wada Temony thought they had found the perfect target: drug dealers. They could earn tens of thousands of dollars in cash from a single robbery, plus drugs that could be sold for extra profit on the streets. An added bonus: the victims were unlikely to call the police for help since they were criminals themselves.
Carter and Temony used a shock and awe strategy. They would break into victims’ homes in the middle of the night and terrorize their families.
“They wore ski masks, they cut the phone lines, they kicked the front door and then they found the people in the house who knew where the valuables were hidden. Drugs, jewelry, guns and of course money,” District Attorney Ben David recalled. “And they would literally threaten the lives of the people inside those houses. Usually the families of the drug dealer, until they say where these things were hidden. And so torture was frequently involved.
Donald Brunson was one of the victims. On December 6, 1996, Carter and Temony learned that Brunson had won over $10,000 in an illegal dice game and decided to take that money for themselves. Brunson, his girlfriend Ana Santiago and his son, Carlos, woke up to intruders holding them at gunpoint in their own home. They were ordered to lie on the master bedroom floor and the beatings began.
Brunson was beaten until he was knocked unconscious. At one point, his ruthless assailants punched him in the face with a tire iron, knocked out his front teeth and swallowed him as his girlfriend and son watched. Brunson was dragged outside and placed in the trunk of Santiago’s car. His nearly naked body was found the next day, shot in the back.
“[They] drove him to Holly Shelter Road, executed him. Then tried to light the car on fire, including the ski masks. The car didn’t turn on properly so we were finally able to collect the ski goggles. This case happened in December… But it was unsolved, in fact the family in this case did not call 911 initially even when their loved one was kidnapped, and they knew he was in danger . They called their family and that family ended up calling 911,” David said of the case.
Other victims of Temony and Carter’s crime spree include Keith Richardson and Ty Baker. During Baker’s hit, they managed to steal $35,000 in cash.
As you can imagine, these men wanted their money back, and Baker was willing to take the law into his own hands to get it. A volatile situation ensued, with people kidnapped for information and shots fired in the streets.
On February 16, 1997, this street judge took the life of an innocent man. Carter and Temony drove their car to a grocery store on 10th and Dawson streets near downtown Wilmington and began selling drugs to a crowd of about a dozen people gathered outside the store. Baker was visiting a friend nearby and saw Carter, but Carter didn’t notice until Baker attacked him, knocking him to the ground.
Baker continued the hostile confrontation, with a jacket slung over his arm. Carter claimed to think Baker was armed and decided to shoot him in self-defense.
“I didn’t want to shoot first, I wanted to move on and do what I had to do first. [Baker] did it to me,” Carter would later testify. “So I went ahead and pulled out my gun and shot him.” After Carter fired the first shot, Baker ran and Carter chased after him firing bullets.
Around the corner, 8-year-old Demetrius Greene was walking towards his mother’s car to go to the toy store. The trip was a reward for getting good grades. Demetrius jumped into his mother’s front seat, parked about 100 feet from the grocery store, around the same time Baker came running around the corner with Carter chasing him while firing shots.
Two of the bullets hit Baker as he crossed the street near Greene’s car, ultimately killing him. A third bullet went through the windshield of the car, hitting the steering wheel and then ricocheting off the side of Demetrius’ head. He died instantly.
“I think people don’t care anymore. This person is happy that [their intended victim] is dead. They don’t care about people having to cry,” Demetrius’ mother, D’April Greene, told reporters after her son was killed by a stray bullet.
“There are consequences of doing nothing. That’s what happened here,” David said of the tragedy that no one had reported Carter to the police before the Feb. 16 shooting, even though he had already killed and tortured someone. other people. “This is the ultimate example of the cost of silence, where if we had the cooperation of the communities before this, this child would never have died.”
Even after Demetrius was killed in broad daylight in front of a large crowd, people weren’t cooperating with the police. But investigators got enough information from Demetrius’ mother, D’April Greene, and other witnesses to at least identify Shan Carter as the shooter. He and Temony were arrested two days later, found hiding in a hotel room.
As detectives began digging into the case, they eventually linked Carter and Temony to Brunson’s murder as well. Temony pleaded guilty to the three shots and was sentenced to 115 years in prison. Carter decided to try his luck at trial.
Fresh out of law school and working as an assistant district attorney, the case was David’s first-ever murder trial. He convinced a jury to give Carter a life sentence in Brunson’s murder. When it came time to put Carter on trial for killing Baker and Greene, the jury showed no mercy. Carter received the death penalty for each murder.
“The law says hate follows a bullet. Which means that if I intend to shoot you, and accidentally shoot someone I’ve never met before, like a small child, you’re just as guilty of premeditation and deliberation with a shot gone wrong, than if it was aimed at him to begin with,” David explained.
More than two decades later, Shan Carter is still on death row. He still proclaims his innocence in Brunson’s death, claims self-defense in Baker’s death, and says Greene’s death was simply a terrible accident.
“I would do anything to bring Demetrious Greene back. I would give my life to bring his life back,” Carter told WECT in an exclusive interview ahead of a 2015 appeal for a new trial. A judge denied his request and upheld his death sentence, which brought relief to the families of the victims.
“Tyrone Baker don’t wake up another day, Donald Brunson don’t wake up and see another day. We can’t wake up and see their faces anymore. We have to go put flowers on their grave and look at a headstone if we want to see them, then no, Shan Carter doesn’t deserve to live another day,” Brunson’s relative Brenda George told WECT.
A year after the murders, the park near where 8-year-old Greene was shot and killed has been renamed in his honor. To this day, the community continues to lay flowers there in her honor.
David regretted that a quarter of a century after these senseless deaths, police and prosecutors still struggle to get witnesses to cooperate in some neighborhoods after a crime.
“It is frustrating for all of us to see that we have learned nothing from our history and that history is repeating itself while we still have the same mistrust. While we still have the same lack of cooperation,” David explained. “There are a lot of good people living in neighborhoods that are plagued by crime, and they desperately need the police and the prosecutors to succeed in cases like this, because it is their children who get caught in the middle. fires and wake up to gunshots. almost daily. »
David hopes remembering the innocent lives lost, like Demetrius Greene, will remind people of the need to speak up.
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