Hammond man and daughter argued night before murder


Frances Morton-Howard testified Monday she was on the phone with Brittany Smith when she overheard Anthony “AC” Carr argue and call her daughter an expletive the night before she later found her dead.

“Young man, that ain’t nice,” she recalled telling him.

The next afternoon on Dec. 3, 2022, when she still hadn’t heard from her, Morton-Howard went back to Smith’s home on the 6100 block of Noble Ave in Hammond with three of her daughter’s five kids in the vehicle, who she was babysitting.

She found the back door kicked down. Smith was slumped over sitting on a box in her bedroom. Morton-Howard called 911. She “cradled” Smith and laid her on the floor. She picked up a knife and a cellphone and later met the police downstairs.

“She was gone,” she recalled in emotional testimony to the jury.

Smith died of three gunshots to the face and head, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.

Carr, 41, is on trial this week charged with Smith’s Dec. 3, 2022, murder. He is also facing firearms and habitual offender enhancements, which could add more time to his sentence if convicted.

His story “changed” and “changed” and “changed” until he was confronted by investigators with the evidence, Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Arnold told jurors in opening statements.

Defense lawyer Ken Elwood argued the couple argued “a lot” and Carr often took breaks away from Smith, staying at his mom’s house. They had argued that night over Carr’s key to Smith’s house.

There was no gun found, he said. Carr wasn’t found with any injuries. His DNA was only found on a cigarette butt and door knob in the home, which made sense.

“He lived there,” Elwood said.

Witnesses told police Smith had dated Carr for about 5 to 6 months. He had threatened her and kicked down her back door several weeks back.

Smith told her mom Carr left the house between 11 p.m. to 11:23 p.m. saying he’d be back.

When her mother called at 9 a.m. on Dec 3 to bring Smith’s kids back, there was no answer. Another witness, a neighbor, told police they heard gunshots between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Carr told police he and Smith dropped off her kids at Morton-Howard’s house the night before for a “date night.” When they went back to Smith’s house, they argued and he got a friend to give him a ride. Carr claimed he partied at the friend’s house, then woke up at 6 a.m. on Dec. 3.

At first, the witness denied seeing Carr for months. When confronted, he admitted Carr showed up “looking like (expletive),” crying he was “going to jail for the rest of his life,” according to the affidavit.

Cellphone records show Carr left Smith’s house at 11:48 p.m. on Dec. 2. He called her six times between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and his phone was back at her house between 4:45 a.m. and 7:23 a.m., according to court records.

Another witness said Carr came with a gun to a bar at 1 a.m. on Dec. 3. The bartender took the gun, wrapped it in a towel then gave it back when Carr left.

Carr was charged in 2017 with kicking another woman’s back door down, and threatening her and family members, according to the affidavit.

Police also discovered texts between Smith and Carr from October where she accused him of kicking down her back door and threatening her.

Carr was arrested Dec. 14, 2022, at a Hammond bar. He claimed he had chest pains from swallowing an entire bag of cocaine during his arrest, which officers didn’t believe, according to the affidavit. Carr was treated and sent back to the Hammond Police Station.

Carr told investigators he didn’t remember much because of his drinking and cocaine use. He also said he partly lied in his first interview and didn’t want to admit he was a cocaine dealer, charges allege.


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