Crime

A fatal fight at a Tacoma apartment started as an argument about child pornography, charges say

Man charged in fatal fight over child pornography

Benjamin Carroll Carter appeared in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, where he was charged with second-degree murder for killing another man who he said wrongly accused him of looking at child pornography.
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Benjamin Carroll Carter appeared in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, where he was charged with second-degree murder for killing another man who he said wrongly accused him of looking at child pornography.

A Tacoma man is accused of killing someone who he said wrongly accused him of looking at child pornography, according to court records.

Benjamin Carroll Carter, 40, is charged with second-degree murder for the fatal fight.

He pleaded not guilty at arraignment Wednesday, and Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Sabrina Ahrens set bail at $1 million.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released the name of the 37-year-old victim.

According to charging papers:

Police responded about 1 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a fight at an apartment in the 300 block of South Ninth Street.

They found a crowd of bystanders on the fifth floor, an apartment door off its hinges and Carter standing over the victim.

Carter had blood on his hands, face and torso and looked like he’d been pepper sprayed.

He was also screaming things that didn’t make sense.

Carter struggled with officers and appeared to be on narcotics.

The officers put him in handcuffs and took the victim into the hall.

He didn’t have a pulse and was not breathing when officers started CPR. The man was later pronounced dead at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Witnesses said the men argued loudly in the apartment when the victim accused Carter of looking at child pornography.

Carter told one witness that he was looking at pornography, but not of minors.

The argument turned physical, and Carter stomped and kicked the victim’s upper body, including his head and chest.

Carter also choked the victim with the victim’s jacket and lunged at one of the witnesses in the apartment hallway, who then pepper-sprayed him, charging documents state.

Carter got a suspended sentence for a 2016 third-degree assault on a public bus and was required to get mental health services.

“It appears from records that the defendant was in compliance with the caveat that he does well so long as he is taking his medications,” the declaration for determination of probable cause in the homicide case says.

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