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Trooper: $30K heroin theft spurred killing

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Investigators believe two out-of-state drug dealers sought revenge in early January when they killed a local man over $30,000 in stolen heroin.

The Jan. 2 shooting claimed the life of Christopher Carter, a 25-year-old who was beaten and shot as he refused to reveal the location of his one-time girlfriend, according to testimony Wednesday in Cabell Circuit Court. The killing took place about 8:45 p.m. at Forest Bluff Apartments, Unit No. 7036, off East Pea Ridge near Huntington.

A state trooper testified Wednesday the suspects -- Tyerus Brandon Hayes, 29, of Atlanta, and Terry Nicholas Morton, 34, of Detroit -- went to the apartment looking to collect. Both blamed Carter's one-time girlfriend and her coworker for stealing the heroin.

Hayes was arrested March 1 in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County, Ga. He was extradited to Huntington and appeared at Wednesday's preliminary hearing.

His public defender, Amber Hanna, called the prosecution's evidence the weakest she has seen in a murder case, but Cabell County Magistrate Darrell Black forwarded her client's case to a grand jury.

West Virginia State Police Trooper W.G. Hash testified both women and the suspects met at a Barboursville strip club, where the women were employed. It also became the place where the suspects recruited both women to work as carriers taking heroin to and from Detroit.

The women grew tired of the drug business and refused their final assignment, which involved 180 grams of heroin. Hash testified the suspects, knowing the women knew too much, threatened to kill them if they did not participate.

The state trooper testified that witnesses recalled two men forcing their way into the Forest Bluff apartment. A physical struggled ensued as four women, including the unit's tenant, escaped. They told police Carter was holding his own until violence elevated with three gunshot being fired.

Carter left through a shattered back door with a gunshot wound to his chest. He collapsed on a nearby sidewalk.

Hanna called two women, who were at the apartment, to testify. Neither could identify Hayes as the alleged gunman. The court, citing threats, denied the defense a chance to question those women who are accused of stealing the heroin.

Hanna also objected to the apartment's tenant not being subpoenaed for Wednesday's hearing, insisting that she was the only witnesse who positively identified Hayes as being involved.

The victim's mother, Debbie Carter, attended Wednesday's hearing. She called life after the shooting "awful," saying her son had sought refuge working at a Kentucky tobacco farm to get away from drugs in and around Huntington. His relationship was on the mend during the holiday break.

Morton remains at large, although investigators believe he has fled to Detroit. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call West Virginia State Police at 304-528-5555 or simply dial 911.

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

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