Acquitted of murder, former officer files suit

Former Oak Grove police officer Ed Carter appears in court in 2014. He faced the death penalty if convicted, but was instead acquitted.

A former Oak Grove police officer acquitted of murder filed a wrongful incarceration lawsuit in Thursday in U.S. District Court against the officer he believes falsely charged him, according to WDRB.

Ed Carter filed the suit against Jason Newby, a former Kentucky State Police trooper and current Hopkinsville police officer. Carter was acquitted last year of the Sept. 20, 1994, murders of 18-year-old Gloria Ross and 22-year-old Candace Belt at the New Life Massage Parlor in Oak Grove.

Belt and Ross were each shot in the head twice with a .22-caliber handgun and their throats were slashed, according to Kentucky New Era archives.

The lawsuit calls the investigation “profoundly shoddy” and claims Newby hid information and came to “fabricated conclusions,” which led to Carter being incarcerated for three years, according to WDRB’s reporting. The lawsuit acknowledges New Life was a “front for prostitution,” and alleges Newby told the Christian County grand jury Carter wanted to take over the massage parlor.

Testimony during the trial indicated Carter was seeing a woman who managed the massage parlor and took money from owners Tammy and Ron Papler, including for use on police equipment, New Era archives state.

The lawsuit also states there was no evidence to support the claim Carter asked Frank Black, also acquitted of the murders, to kill the women. Newby was a key witness against the defendants and gave testimony that secured the grand jury indictments in November 2013, New Era archives say. Additionally, special prosecutor Christopher Cohron, Warren County commonwealth’s attorney, never linked Carter and Black or gave any explanation for how they knew each other

In addition, the lawsuit claims Carter’s wife was never interviewed by Newby, despite his claims to the grand jury she told him Carter washed his clothes when he got home the morning of the murders and that she said it was “very odd” behavior.

A third defendant, Leslie Duncan, another former Oak Grove police officer, was also acquitted in the case. New Era archives indicate investigators never located a murder weapon and DNA evidence was inconclusive.

Kentucky New Era reached out to Carter’s attorney, Garry R. Adams of Louisville, but have not heard back. The suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial, according to WDRB.

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