Preston Carter was sentenced to death by the State of Tennessee for a double murder. According to court documents Preston Carter and accomplices forced their way into an apartment and would murder a couple, Thomas and Tensia Jackson, inside. According to police the group thought they were breaking into a drug dealers apartment however they had the wrong address. Preston Carter would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
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During the early morning hours of May 28, 1993, Carter, accompanied by Darnell Ivory and Louis Anderson, went to a Memphis apartment complex where Thomas and Tensia Jackson resided with their young daughter, Tierney.2 The three men were under the mistaken belief that the Jacksons’ apartment was the residence of a drug dealer whom they intended to rob. Carter and Anderson knocked on the door of the Jacksons’ apartment. Mr. Jackson came to the door but did not open it. Carter and Anderson asked Mr. Jackson “if he [had] anything.” Mr. Jackson replied that he did not know what they were talking about, and he refused to open the door. The men quickly realized they had the wrong apartment. Nevertheless, after handing a sawed-off shotgun to Anderson, Carter kicked in the apartment door.
Carter and Anderson entered the Jacksons’ apartment and demanded money. Mr. Jackson was told to call for his wife to “come out” and was forced into a closet. As Carter searched the apartment for money or drugs, Anderson raped Mrs. Jackson. According to Carter, Mr. Jackson came at him in an apparent attempt to defend his family. Carter admitted, however, that he shot Mr. Jackson while Mr. Jackson was crouching in his daughter’s bedroom closet. Carter shot him at point-blank range with the sawed-off shotgun. Mr. Jackson’s brain was literally blown out of his skull, and he died instantly. Next, Carter found Mrs. Jackson in the bathroom. She was clad only in a t-shirt, and she was screaming, “Please don’t shoot me. I’ll do anything. Please don’t shoot.” Ignoring her pleas to live, Carter shot Mrs. Jackson at close range as she lay on the bathroom floor. The shotgun pellets entered her left eye, and her brain exploded. She also died instantly.
Shortly before 4:00 a.m., three of Mr. Jackson’s co-workers arrived at the Jacksons’ apartment to pick him up for work at a local bakery. Among the co-workers were Mrs. Jackson’s brother, Derrick Lott, and Thomas Jackson’s brother, Kenneth Jackson. They found the front door to the Jacksons’ apartment kicked in and the master bedroom ransacked. Mr. Lott discovered the Jacksons’ daughter lying in a pool of blood in the closet with her dead father. The child had not been physically injured.
On the evening of May 28, 1993, the date of the double homicide, Carter was arrested. He gave a statement to police admitting that he shot Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. The sawed-off shotgun Carter used was found in his apartment, and he admitted using this weapon to shoot the two victims.
In addition to proof regarding the circumstances of the murders, the State introduced evidence at the resentencing hearing that Carter had previously been convicted of aggravated robbery with a shotgun.