Man accused in quadruple Rockford homicide asks judge to bar evidence

Posted: August 19, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By Jeff Kolkey
Rockford Register Star

Posted Aug. 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM
Updated Aug 18, 2015 at 6:17 PM

ROCKFORD — Attorneys for a 22-year-old man accused in the Dec. 20 killings of a young mother, her two sons and her boyfriend asked Judge John Truitt today to bar evidence from his eventual trial based on an argument that it was seized illegally.
Winnebago County Assistant Public Defenders Nick Zimmerman and Edward Light say a duplex apartment their client, Calvin Carter, shared with his uncle was entered by Rockford Police Department detectives without a warrant on the morning of Christmas Eve as they investigated the quadruple homicide. They argued police officers obtained a search warrant only after they had already conducted an initial search of the apartment at 422 11th St.
“The search was without probable cause, without a warrant, without permission to enter,” and was therefore illegal and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, Zimmerman argued. “They really had no information to believe (Carter) was there at that time.”
But Winnebago County Assistant State’s Attorneys Marilyn Hite Ross and James Brun said police investigating the quadruple homicide had every right to enter the home. They were looking for Carter who was already wanted on a retail theft warrant out of East St. Louis and had become a prime suspect in the killings.
After learning Carter wasn’t in the apartment, the officers left without taking any items and returned with a valid search warrant from a Winnebago County judge.
“The evidence will show there was no unreasonable search,” Hite Ross told Truitt.
The hearing at times grew heated, with tempers flaring during tense exchanges over what could be critical evidence including cellphones, gloves, flash drives and clothing. The hearing is expected to conclude Thursday afternoon.
Carter has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the killings of Martia Flint, 24, her two sons, Tobias Smith, 4, and Tyrone Smith, 6, along with her boyfriend, Demontae Rhodes, 24. Carter had been in a relationship with Flint, a dental assistant. Flint had for years dated Rhodes, a childhood friend, before they briefly broke up and then reunited.
The four were shot to death in their apartment in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue.
Investigators, based on interviews with witnesses and more than 1,800 text messages downloaded from her phone, believe Flint had in the days before the killings complained to friends and family about abuse at the hands of Carter and voiced concern he might try to hurt her. Carter disputes those allegations.
Defense attorneys attempted to show police had no probable cause to conduct an initial search the 11th Street apartment. Their questions pointed out that a neighbor said it had been quiet the prior few days and didn’t recognize a photo of Carter.
Rockford Police Detective Brad Shelton testified that officers entered the apartment without a search warrant because they thought there was a chance Carter was there. Detectives worked relentlessly in the days after the killings to track down Carter, who had exchanged numerous text messages with Flint until an hour before the slayings when the messages abruptly stopped.

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