Man whose brother, mother were killed alarmed friends
In recent months, the man whose mother and brother were hacked to death in Belmont last week has alarmed friends with incoherent and bizarre behaviors, what they saw as the latest in a decline fueled by heavy drug use.
Shawn Carter, 31, has been at the Belknap County jail since 9:30 p.m. Friday, according to an official there. Earlier that day, the police found his mother, Priscilla Carter, and older brother, Tim Carter, dead from multiple chop wounds in the home the three shared on Sunset Drive.
Officials from the state attorney general’s office said no one has been arrested in connection to the homicides. But according to court documents, the police issued an alert warning that Shawn could be armed and dangerous shortly after the bodies were found. He was stopped while driving on Route 3 in Tilton a few hours later and arraigned yesterday on a charge of operating without a valid license.
Jeffery Strelzin, head of the attorney general’s homicide unit, has declined to comment on Shawn.
Shocked friends said 59-year-old Priscilla and her two sons moved into the lakefront rental last month after a difficult year in which all three had found themselves briefly homeless.
Longtime friend Joyce Hendrickson let Priscilla and 39-year-old Tim – who had lived with his mother most of his adult life – move into her Laconia apartment for about three months last winter. High school friends have described Tim as exhibiting signs of depression and schizophrenia, and Hendrickson said he wanted to work but struggled during job interviews.
Priscilla also has a daughter who lives in Meredith, Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson said the mother woke by 4 a.m. every day and worked long hours to care for her sons but still struggled to pay the bills, especially in light of Shawn’s drug habit, which was a huge financial burden.
Several friends of the family bluntly describe Shawn as a jerk, saying he has a temper, an inflated self-confidence and a tendency toward selfishness.
“(Shawn) would borrow money, borrow money and never pay it back. Or pay back like 10 bucks out of $80 and it would set her back,” she said. “But being the mom that she was, taking care of her boys, she would do it.”
‘It was bad stuff’
A recreational drug user since a young age, Shawn’s intake became heavier and more dangerous after he was injured at work about three years ago, according to friends. They said it was a different story before the injury, when Shawn worked at a concrete plant and filled his nights with making dinner and getting his two daughters ready for bed. They are now 14 and 11, Hendrickson said.
“At least then, I felt like here was the younger brother who was stable, and there was the older brother who was trying to find his way,” said Lionel Reed, who had known Tim since elementary school.
A friend who asked to not be named said he was shocked by the amount of pain pills Shawn was prescribed after hurting his back on the job. He got his hands on even more medications during a series of surgeries and after he was assaulted by a man who struck him in the head with a baseball bat, friends said.
The pain medications, the man said, led to other drugs. According to Hendrickson, Shawn’s daughters went to live with their mother.
“He wasn’t smoking a joint with a bunch of friends at a party,” the friend said. “It was bad stuff. And the people he was hanging out with were the bad people.”
Hendrickson said she warned Priscilla about her son’s drug use. But the mother would never turn away her children.
“She knew (about Shawn’s drug use), but she would help him because that was her baby,” she said.
Millions of dollars hidden
Hendrickson thinks it was around the time Priscilla moved in with her just after Thanksgiving last year that Shawn’s mental state started to deteriorate.
She said he recently dug into a wall, claiming there were millions of dollars hidden inside. He called her and said he had been initiated into a motorcycle club at age 12 and was wondering why the group hadn’t reached out to him. A few weeks ago, after the family had moved into their home on the lake, Shawn wandered into a business next door asking for a man who didn’t work there and claiming he needed to close a gate, according to the owners.
In February, he posted a message on Facebook calling himself “king.”
“I told you I chose a mortal life,” he wrote. “The truth is I spoke with kronos. I have decided to except his offer. I will return to him instead. I will go on alone. This is true. He put the blade in my hand. To my queenz I’m deeply sorry. I will not be able to return or ever say goodbye. I love you all so much. But my time is up.”
A friend commented, suggesting he needed help.
Reed said he last talked to Shawn a few months ago after seeing another concerning message on his Facebook page.
“So that’s a rap for me!” Shawn posted in February. “I’m glad everyone. Had a good life n a great time destroying mine. Its going to end today just not how any of u planed!”
Reed called him incessantly that day until Shawn picked up.
“I said, ‘What’s going on man? What’s going on? Are you okay?’ He blew it off like it was nothing. . . . I got off the phone feeling good. He seemed okay,” Reed said.
But he asked whether Shawn was still using drugs. He said Shawn told him he was.
Considering the erratic behavior, it surprised Hendrickson when Shawn recently moved in with his mother and brother. She said that one of the last times she talked to Tim, he said Shawn was especially irritable and complaining that the lake house was too cold.
Hendrickson asked how Priscilla was.
“He said she was alright,” she said. “But that she was on edge because of Shawn.”
Hendrickson said Priscilla couldn’t really afford their new home, but Shawn’s disability check paid for the first month’s rent. The mother had just told her son that his benefits would have to cover the next month’s payment, too, Hendrickson said.
On Friday, the police wrapped tape around that white home. Police cruisers and an evidence truck parked outside.
Hendrickson is still processing that Priscilla and Tim died there. Knowing how they were killed, she said, is making it harder.
“I could live better thinking they were shot,” she said.
‘Never caught a break’
Friends said they couldn’t recall Priscilla and Tim ever raising their voices and that the mother and son found joy in simple things – her in a cigarette and a good conversation and him in his guitar.
“(Priscilla) loved her kids. She did,” Reed said. “I remember the family as a family that I don’t believe ever really caught a break. . . . They would have, any one of them, would have given me the shirt off their back. But they never caught a break themselves.”
Reed said Tim was at times overwhelming to deal with, but Priscilla – who was affectionately called “mom” by her sons’ friends – never turned him away.
Friends of the family aren’t shy with saying he talked to himself. It worried others, when he’d walk down the street or was shoveling the driveway and having a conversation with no one. But Hendrickson said for those who knew Tim well, it was never a concern.
His mannerisms did lead to bullying when he was at Laconia High School, though. Nickole Bolduc, a friend from school, said Tim was “innocent, not ignorant.” His gentle spirit, what drew his friends to him, became a detriment at times because Tim never stood up for himself, she said.
“He was an easy target,” she said. “He allowed himself to be. He perceived himself as an easy target.”
Hendrickson said the family plans to hold a private funeral service and then a celebration of life where others can share memories.
(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)