Attorneys are now arguing a lack of probable cause by police in the July arrest of a Lake Havasu City man on charges of homicide.
Carter Beckwith, 18, remained in custody at Mohave County Jail this week as he awaited trial on one count of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old victim Daemon Petetan. But according to attorney Jaimye Ashley, of Kingman-based Ashley & McPhillips Law Office, Beckwith was only ever sought by police as a potential witness in the case, rather than a suspect.
The shooting allegedly took place in the backyard of an Alpine Drive residence in the early hours of July 10, where a party had been taking place. Police say Beckwith fled the scene after the shooting occurred, and may have intended to escape to California. Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies sought Beckwith that morning, before the alleged suspect was ultimately found asleep in his vehicle in the town of Parker. According to the police report, two firearms - including the alleged murder weapon - were found in Beckwith’s possession.
Ashley filed a motion on Oct. 28 to have evidence against Beckwith suppressed, as the “poisoned fruits” of an unjustified arrest.
According to Ashley’s motion, the Lake Havasu City Police Department issued an “attempt to locate” Beckwith on the morning of the shooting, for questioning as a possible witness in the case. Ashley says that when Parker Police officers found Beckwith, they had only the constitutional authority to temporarily detain Beckwith for as long as it took them to obtain further information in the case.
Rather than detaining Beckwith temporarily, Ashley says Beckwith was arrested at gunpoint and transported to La Paz County Jail, where he was held for transportation back to Havasu.
According to Ashley, her client’s arrest by Parker Police officers was unlawful, as was the search of his vehicle and seizure of property found within. It was only after the arrest and search had taken place that officers obtained warrants for either, Ashley said - which may also have been unlawful.
According to Mohave Superior Court records, the Mohave County Attorney’s Office had yet to file a response to Ashley’s motion to suppress evidence in the case as of Monday.
Beckwith is next scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18 for a status conference in the case. Superior Court Judge Douglas Camacho is scheduled to hear arguments for and against the suppression of evidence in Beckwith’s case on Dec. 3.