Local News

Warrant: Murder suspect's story differed from witnesses'

Posted June 19, 2009 2:04 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2009 6:02 p.m. EDT

— The story of a Knightdale woman charged in the shooting death of her stepfather was inconsistent with witness accounts of the crime, according to search warrants returned Thursday afternoon.

Several witnesses told Wake County sheriff's investigators that they heard gunshots significantly earlier than what Carletta Patrice Alston had described, according to a June 18 warrant affidavit to search a 2004 silver Pontiac Grand Am.

Alston, 24, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 4 shooting death of Michael Donnell Smith. Deputies found him lying in his driveway at 1808 Lucas Road, outside Knightdale, around 3:30 a.m. while responding to reports of gunfire.

The sheriff's office said Thursday that investigators expect to make more arrests in the shooting.

The affidavit does not detail what Alston told authorities about that night, but it states that investigators collected her clothing and shoes as evidence. State lab tests returned earlier this week showed gunshot residue on the clothing, investigators said.

The affidavit also states that a witness – it does not say who – told deputies that Smith's wallet was missing.

While searching the crime scene for the wallet, one investigator noticed "journal type documents and banking materials." The affidavit does not indicate where.

While preparing to tow the car, another investigator noticed inside the vehicle, purses, wallets, "an unusual large bladed weapon" and shoes, the affidavit continued.

Investigators seized a "cleaver-type knife with taped handle," a pair of brown cloth gloves, a cardboard box and several financial documents, among other items, according to the warrant.

Several other warrants also returned Thursday were requests for investigators to search Smith's BellSouth e-mail account as well as several computers, cell phones seized from the residence and a GPS device seized from Smith's car.

Affidavits for those warrants indicate that deputies found Smith lying on his stomach with what appeared to be a gunshot wound in the area of his mouth.

Alston, as well as Smith's wife, told investigators they were inside the house asleep when they heard what they thought were a scream and then a gunshot, according to a June 4 warrant. Smith's wife then called 911.

Authorities have not offered a motive for Smith's death and do not offer one in any of the warrants.

In a 911 call, his wife, Phyllis Smith, said her husband was leaving for work that morning.

"My husband is on his way to work, and he just left out the door, and I (heard) a gunshot,” she told an emergency dispatcher. “I’m too afraid to go out there and see.”

"I just want to make sure he is OK," she continued. "My daughter is on the phone calling his cell phone."

Phyllis Smith said her husband of seven years was a truck driver. He was also an associate minister at Truth and Delivery International Ministry Church in Knightdale.

Alston lived with Smith and her mother, authorities said.