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Belmont man whose mother, brother were hacked to death could be freed

BELMONT — A little more than two weeks after his older brother and mother were found hacked to death at the family's home at 20 Sunset Drive, Shawn Carter will be tried today on a traffic charge, and then likely set free, according to his lawyer.

Police issued an urgent alert for Carter's arrest within a few hours of discovering the dead bodies of Timothy Carter, 39, and Priscilla Carter, 59, at their recently rented home shortly after 11 a.m. on May 24.

The alert, which within minutes led to Shawn Carter's arrest in Tilton, said Carter was potentially armed and dangerous.

Carter, who is handicapped and poor, according to his lawyer, public defender Jesse Friedman, has been held on $200 cash bail in the Belknap County jail in Laconia since his arrest on a driving-after-suspension charge. Friedman has refused to comment on the nature of his client's disability.

Carter has not been named as a suspect in the double-homicides, nor had any arrests been made in the case as of Monday, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin.

But he is scheduled to appear in Franklin Superior Court on the charge and a bail violation charge regarding failure to pay a past traffic fine, court officials said.

The charges are Class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by a cash fine and up to a year in jail.

But judges don't typically order jail sentences in driving offenses. If he is found guilty, Friedman said he will ask the judge to give Carter credit for time already served, and ask for his release

"I don't expect anything beyond a generic sentencing for this type of case," Friedman said.

He said he doesn't see his client's potential release as any threat to the public.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's being held on cash bail for driving after suspension, and people charged with that are not generally considered harmful to the public," Friedman said. "I have no information that he would be a danger to anyone before or after (today's) trial."

Since Carter's arrest, Strelzin has refused to comment on his arrest or any possible links to the homicides, saying the Attorney General's Office does not comment on such matters while a murder investigation is ongoing.

Strelzin has said that his investigation had produced no evidence to show that there was any threat to the public's safety in the aftermath of the murders.

Asked specifically about whether Carter was a threat to the public if released, he reiterated what he has said in past days about the case.

"We don't typically announce arrests until after they are made," Strelzin said. "The case is still being actively worked on by our office and the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit."

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