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Police: Heroin theft led to fatal shooting

Jan. 07, 2013 @ 11:20 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Investigators believe a New Year's Day heroin theft motivated a Detroit gunman to fatally shoot a local man a day later, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court.

The federal warrants and attached documents, filed Friday, charge Terry Nicholas Morton, 34, and Tyerus Brandon Hayes, 29 with crossing state lines to avoid prosecution for first-degree murder.

Investigators believe both men left West Virginia in the hours that followed the Jan. 2 shooting that killed Christopher Carter, 25, according to the court documents and West Virginia State Police Sgt. Greg Losh. The documents place at least one of the men in Detroit.

Losh said that is one spot among other possible locations, adding some tips indicate the two men might have split up.

Still very much concerned about the danger posed by Hayes and Morton, Losh urged anyone with information about their whereabouts to call 304-528-5555 or simply dial 911.

Morton answers to the street name "Boots," while Hayes answers to "Tank." Information concerning their whereabouts can be provided anonymously.

The Jan. 2 shooting happened about 8:45 p.m. at Forest Bluff Apartments, Unit No. 7036. The complex is located along Beech Drive, off East Pea Ridge Road near Barboursville.

Carter received three gunshot wounds and died later at a local hospital. Detectives have information linking Carter to the stolen heroin, according to a state murder warrant unsealed Friday as part of the federal filing.

The murder warrant states an undisclosed amount of heroin was stolen from Hayes and Morton on Jan. 1. Another witness told investigators both men had "made threats to kill people that had stolen from them."

Hayes and Morton then engaged in a physical altercation with Carter on Jan. 2 at Forest Bluff, according to the federal and state filings. The documents further state Hayes physically assaulted Carter several times, all while Morton brandished and fired a semiautomatic pistol, striking Carter three times in the upper portion of his body.

The State Police, in cooperation with the Cabell County Sheriff's Office, searched several areas for the suspects to no avail, including several addresses and hangouts Hayes was known to frequent.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service then joined the search. The filings indicate special resources utilized in the investigation located at least one of the men in Detroit, but neither Losh nor Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas could report an arrest as of midday Monday.

Another tip led police to execute a search warrant in Charleston to no avail, Losh said.

In a related move hours after the shooting, State Police arrested Jonathan Robert Yeager and seized heroin and powdered cocaine from his residence along Pinedale Drive, also located off East Pea Ridge Road near Barboursville.

Losh said investigators believe the three defendants are connected as Yeager had contact with both Carter and those suspected in Carter's death.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD.

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