By Amy Schwanhausser
This morning a man accused of killing his 4-year-old daughter plead no contest. Prior to sentencing, the mother and grandmother of the victim spoke about the personal tragedy they were forced to endure.
Markeese Leavell Carter plead no contest to multiple felonies, including voluntary manslaughter, poisoning food, corporal injury to a child, child endangerment, resisting an executive officer with force and gassing.
On Nov. 19, 2017, Mr. Carter drugged his 4-year-old daughter’s food and then drowned her in the river. According to family members, Mr. Carter believed his daughter was not biologically related to him, which they say may have motivated him to kill his daughter out of misplaced rage. The younger sister, who survived, was forced to watch her sister drown.
Shortly after discovering the victim’s body, an executive officer attempted to arrest Mr. Carter. However, the encounter was not peaceful. Mr. Carter resisted arrest and threw bodily fluids at the officer.
In exchange for the no contest pleas to these charges, Judge Paul Richardson enforced a 19-year prison sentence. The plea deal ensured that Mr. Carter did not receive the maximum sentences on most of these charges. Judge Richardson also remarked that if Mr. Carter were ever eligible for parole, he would likely face parole that lasted longer than usual.
The mother of the victim explained how her daughter’s violent death plunged her entire family into uncertainty and grief. Regarding the effects of this terrible loss, she stated, “any life you take, is not one life. It’s all that’s connected.” Her life, the lives of her surviving children, and everyone connected to the victim have all been changed forever. She felt her children have been traumatized enough and does not want them to ever have contact with Mr. Carter.
Mainly, the mother reiterated the importance of holding peace and mercy in her heart. Although she neither felt pity nor love for Mr. Carter, she stated it was not her place to bestow judgment. The ultimate judgment was reserved for Allah. She hoped Mr. Carter found the strength to pray for forgiveness and repent. She will try to devote herself to patience and forgiveness, but she admitted that “one hundred lifetime sentences could never extinguish my pain.”
The victim’s grandmother reflected on Mr. Carter’s character and prison sentence. She remembered she did not encourage the marriage between Mr. Carter and her daughter, but never expected this violence. She stated he had “chipped away the respect” she had for him until none remained. She believed no respectable adult would attack a defenseless 4-year-old. In her heart, she concluded, she “knew her granddaughter did not have to die like she did.”