Quentin Carter Now Free
In a tragic and utterly heartbreaking series of events that took place many years ago, a man who was already a murderer, raped a 10-year-old girl and forced her to point the finger of blame on another person. A boy who had never spoken a word to her, let alone touched her. A boy who was guilty of living on the same street as the young girl’s crack addict mother and her violently abusive boyfriend.
And so, out of a desperate and terrible situation, a web of lies was woven. An intricate fabrication intended to misdirect, to disguise the truth, and to sacrifice one man’s freedom in return for another’s. A web of lies that completely engulfed 16-year-old Quentin Carter, and ended up sending him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
While the case is so multi-faceted and complex it would take pages and pages to explain, the basics can be summed up as follows:
Aurelias Marshal beat Joel Battaglia to death on a sidewalk in Eastowne in 1990. But Marshal was, and is, no ordinary person. People lied to the police, and to the judge in court, in order to protect him. Why, you may wonder? Simple. Because they were afraid of him. And one of those people was a 10-year-old girl whose mother was in a relationship with Marshal.
As a child she had first-hand knowledge of what Marshal was capable of. She and her siblings had suffered beatings and violence and rape at Marshal’s hands. They knew what he could do. And so, terrified of the consequences of telling the truth, when that 10-year-old girl was sent to the hospital after a particularly brutal sexual assault by Marshal, she offered police the carefully constructed story Marshal had created for her.
A story intended to place the finger of blame on Carter, whose name had been chosen at random out of some garbage. The story, beaten into her with an extension cord by Marshal, included just enough detail to stand up under investigation. And so she did what any terrified child in her position would do. She lied. And an innocent man went to prison.
But the lie ate away at her over the years. Guilt is a heavy burden to bear, and she struggled under it’s weight. But fear is heavier still. And try as she might, the 10-year-old girl, who had since grown up and had children of her own, was still afraid. Marshal was still out there, and still made his presence known in terrifying little ways. Ways that were intended to remind her of exactly what he was, and what he was capable of.
And it wasn’t until a group of cold case investigators began investigating Joel Battaglia’s death, wanting to know what she knew about the truth of that night, that another truth was revealed. Marshal was guilty of not just a murder, but also a host of other crimes. And one of them was a crime that Carter had served a full prison sentence for.
Quentin Carter is now not just a free man, but an innocent man as well. Although, truth be told, he was innocent all along. What makes him singular though, is not his innocence, but rather his lack of bitterness. He says that he feels no rage, and no desire for revenge. Which is incredible, given the circumstances.
Mr Carter has been given an opportunity that few wrongly convicted people get. Which does not, in any way, negate what happened to him, or the fact that it was tragically unfair. But it is safe to say that, regardless of the circumstances, a wrongful conviction is devastating and life-altering. If you or a loved one have been wrongly accused of a crime, we can help. Don’t let an incorrect accusation become a wrongful conviction. Get help now.