Arson trial set this week, court docket lists 100 cases

Staff Writer

A man who served time in Illinois for stabbing his wife to death and in Mississippi for cutting a woman is scheduled for trial next week in Clay County Circuit Court on arson charges.

Court officials say they are preparing for trial Tuesday for 60-year-old Daniel Carter. He is charged with setting fire to the Higgins Alley home of Ethel Townsend on June 5, 2015. Judge Lee Howard is scheduled to hear the case.

According to insurance papers filed in court records, the fire did approximately $20,000 in damage to the home.

In her victim's impact statement filed five months after the fire, Townsend said she was not aware of Carter's history until after the fire and his arrest several weeks later. She called him a "dirty man" and says if he did what he is accused of doing, he should be "sent to prison because jail is too good for him."

Carter's history in Clay County dates back to 2004 when he was charged with assaulting Willie Pearman with a pipe and cutting Alisha Graham with a knife. On Jan. 19, 2005, he was sentenced to 15 years with five suspended. He served his time and then had part of his probation revoked in 2010 and returned to prison. He was released from prison in October 2012 and discharged from his sentence in May 2013.

On June 12, 1986, he was convicted of murder in Cook County, Illinois, and sentenced to 32 years. On Aug. 19, 1984, when he was 27, he stabbed his wife, Rene Carter, four times after they got into an argument. She died from her wounds. He'd previously been convicted of battery on her on two different occasions.

He served part of his sentence and was released from prison in 2000 and then from supervision and put on a bus to West Point in 2003, according to court records filed as part of the pending case.
Carter's case is one of 100 cases, ranging from capital murder and armed robbery to drug possession and forgery, set during the two-week term of Clay County Circuit Court. Some of the cases will be resolved with guilty pleas and others will be continued.

Only one other trial is expected during the two-week term. Judge Jim Kitchens will hear cases the second week.

Among the cases on the docket but not expected to be resolved are the capital murder and armed robbery charges against 26-year-old Tevin Hodges, 32-year-old Nebuchednezza "Slim" Townsend, and 20-year-old Jarvis Williams.

They are charged with the Oct. 2, 2015 shooting death of 20-year-old Chaderick Strong and armed robbery of Spenshea Lucas at an apartment on North Forrest Street. Strong was shot in the head.
Williams originally was charged as an accessory after the fact but was indicted for capital murder and armed robbery, as were Hodges and Townsend.

Their cases are set for Monday, according to the court's printed docket.

Also on the docket for review Monday are the arson and conspiracy charges against three people accused of roles in the arson of the former West Point Stockyards on Nov. 5, 2015.

Billy Aron is accused of second degree arson and conspiracy for hiring two men to burn the business. Tommy Williams is charged with conspiracy in that case and arson and conspiracy for burning a home belonging to Mike Tribble in Cedar Bluff on May 6, 2016. Tribble is charged with arson, conspiracy and insurance fraud in that fire.