Published On: Sat, Apr 23rd, 2016

Susan Clifton, Shawn Carter murder suicide details emerge

A Churchville woman was killed by “sharp force injury” to her chest, and her live-in boyfriend died from a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest earlier this month in a murder-suicide, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke. The details of Susan M. Clifton and Shawn L. Carter’s deaths confirm the murder suicide reports.

Clifton, 29, and Carter, 31, were found by authorities the night of April 6 at a the couple’s home in Churchville. Clifton, who was nine months pregnant, made a 911 call and reported Carter was intoxicated and beating her.

During the call, Clifton said she had retreated to the bathroom but could not escape the home.

Sixteen minutes later, sheriff’s deputies forced their way inside the residence and found Carter, still alive, atop Clifton, who was already dead.

photo/Alan Cleaver

photo/Alan Cleaver

Carter died minutes later while rescue personnel attempted to treat his injuries.

The unborn baby did not survive the attack.

The medical examiner’s office listed Clifton’s death as a homicide and Carter’s a suicide, but had no information about the baby Clifton was carrying.

An official with the medical examiner’s office said they cannot release toxicology results.

According to the search warrant, a knife sheath was recovered from Carter and a knife was found in the bathroom. A baseball bat — stained with blood and hair — also was discovered in the bathroom, but Sheriff Donald Smith said investigators do not believe Clifton was attacked with the baseball bat.

“We don’t know if she had the bat to protect herself or what,” he said.

When asked how blood and hair might have gotten on the bat, the sheriff said, “It was a messy scene.”

Carter was involved in several domestic disputes in the past, records show, some resulting in short jail stints. He once threatened to kill his ex-wife and their children in December 2011.

According to a report filed by Carter’s ex-wife, she said he called and informed her he would no longer be paying child support.

Carter was also charged with numerous protective order violations, according to court records. In an alleged 2007 assault on another woman, the charge was dismissed.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco


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