Forsyth MO. – It was the morning of October 25, 2016 and I got myself dressed early, so that I might attend a hearing set for Tristan Carr, set for 9AM at the Court House located at 266 Main Street in the Division 1 Associate courtroom, with Judge Tony William presiding. I went to the trouble of going there not knowing if I would even be allowed in, but made the effort anyway, as I knew the deceased Eric Summerfield and what an impact his death had been on those close to him. That morning dawned sunny, seasonally cool and with almost no wind. (A definite counterpoint to what was an otherwise very solemn day). For Tristan Carr was about to hear what sort of case the State had against him concerning the death of Mr. Summerfield, and whether Judge Williams felt there was enough evidence presented by the prosecution to carry it forward to a trail.
Some of the possible outcomes of a criminal trail are; involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter or murder in either the first or second degree (in my opinion). The differences being that voluntary manslaughter requires an intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm while involuntary manslaughter does not. [Note that premeditation or deliberation before the fact, however, are elements of a murder charge and not one of manslaughter]. Note also that any and all charges were subject to a preliminary finding that Mr. Carr was mentally fit to even stand trail in the first place.
Prior to the hearing on this date, the charges brought against Mr. Carr at his arraignment on October 17, were murder in the 1st degree and armed criminal action. Both of which, pointed to the serious nature of the evidence the State felt it had against him. [Note that in Missouri, murder in the second degree is a Class A felony punishable by 10-30 years or life in prison, whereas murder in the first degree is punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole].
I arrived at the courthouse at about 8:50 AM along with a friend named Lisa. We entered into the admitting area where we were told by an officer named Jimmy to remove all items from our pockets, including our belts! An elevator then took us up a floor to the courtroom where we encountered Eric’s mom, Amber Cole who was with friends and who appeared distraught. She had been through a lot over the past week and it showed clearly.
Shortly after 9AM, we were allowed into the courtroom where we were informed that there would be a two hour delay in bringing Tristan to stand before the Judge. At that point we all left to go get coffee, and in my case, some food. While eating I elected not to return to the courthouse, oping instead for my friend to go back and to take notes.
Apparently when everyone returned to the courtroom, Tristan had already been brought in and was seated. He made eye contact with the mother of the deceased, broke into tears and said he was sorry. At that point, I was told that the mother also lost it and began crying.
Two motions were made, once for a continuance to the following week and for a reduction in bond. The continence was accepted while the bond reduction was denied according to my understanding.
According to the docket entries, there was a motion for a change of judge filed by Mr. Carr’s public defender and a continuance to Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 9AM in the same courtroom with Judge Tony Williams presiding.