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Short life of Carter Scott marred by accusations of family violence

When Carter Scott was born, his family was embroiled in allegations of violence: His father was sitting in a jail cell, accused by two relatives of killing a cousin.

Just over a year later, Carter's mother, Christina White, filed for a protective order alleging that his father, Rashaw Scott, beat her and slammed her head into a door.

And in May, the 1-year-old boy became the victim of deadly violence when he and his father were shot in what police said was a targeted attack. The father survived; the son died.

Now the family is left with many questions. What if Rashaw Scott had left the Baltimore area, as his lawyer advised after he was acquitted in the murder case? What if Scott, 22, had lost custody of his son, as White had requested before she failed to show up for a court hearing on the protective order?

Then maybe little Carter Scott wouldn't have been caught up in the violence that plagues some corners of Baltimore.

Elder Kimberly Showell of the First Apostolic Faith Church said innocent children are getting killed in Baltimore "too often."

"We have to make some changes so we're not standing here to say nice things about other little Carters," she said at the boy's funeral this week, looking down at his body in a small open casket.

Members of the child's family have declined to comment.

Two people have been charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings of Carter Scott and his father. Police have not stated a motive in the shootings, but spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives are looking at retaliation as a possible explanation. Police say much of the bloodshed in the city is connected, as violence begets violence.

"It appears he may have gotten into an argument with some people from a former life," Guglielmi said.

Carter Scott was shot in the leg and died May 24. Police said three gunmen in latex gloves fired about 16 rounds into the car carrying the boy and his father. Rashaw Scott survived to recount the incident to police; he said he had been set up. Scott was listed in serious condition Tuesday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

At Carter Scott's funeral, relatives recalled happier times and described a close-knit family that watched over the baby. But court records suggest a more chaotic existence for some of the adults in the boy's life.

At First Apostolic on Monday, White, 23, sat with her mother, Evelyn White, in the front row, and more than 50 of the almost 200 funeral attendees signaled that they were part of Carter's family during the service. They said he loved drumming to gospel music on pots and pans, and playfully sparring with Javon Shipley Jr., one of his two brothers.

But his mother had alleged in her request for a protective order this April that her son had witnessed real violence as well.

"Rashaw O. Scott repeatedly punched me in my face and head he also choked me while my one year old son was in my arms," she wrote in the application. "He grabbed [me] by my shirt and jacket an through me head into the door."

In the application, filled out by hand in rounded block letters, White asked for custody of Carter Scott. A judge granted a temporary order and set a hearing later that month. White did not show up, court records show, and the order was dismissed.

In the funeral program for their son, the couple wrote a poem together, expressing their loss.

"We think of you in silence. No one sees us weep. But the love we have for you is in our hearts to keep," read the poem, which was signed "Mommy and Daddy."

John Cox, Scott's lawyer in the murder case, said he advised Scott to leave town for his own safety when the trial ended last October — in case the verdict on the streets differed from the one in the jury room.

Cox said that despite Scott's acquittal, he did not see how his client could return to his family. Scott's cousin, Gregory Davenport, was killed in their home, and Davenport's mother and another cousin told police that Scott was behind it.

"How do you go home to that?" Cox asked.

In an interview with homicide detectives, Derrick Scott, the other cousin, said he heard the two men fighting and shots ring out. He said he came down the stairs and saw Rashaw Scott running out of the house.

"He called the family saying he did it, he was sorry ... and he was going to turn his self in but look, it's about a month or two later ain't nothing, ain't nothing happen," Derrick Scott said, according to an interview transcript in court records. "I'm hurt real … I'm all messed up."

Cox said Derrick Scott had changed his story to more strongly implicate his cousin. Cox argued at trial that any calls his client made after the killing did not amount to a confession.

There were other people who might have wanted Davenport dead, according to Scott's legal team. His previous lawyer, public defender Gregory J. Fischer, wrote in court filings that Davenport had been charged — but never convicted — in connection with six murders or attempted murders.

"The victims and the victims' associates of these previous incidents would have had a potential motive to commit the shooting of Gregory Davenport in the instant matter," Fischer wrote.

Cornell Harvey, 26, one of the men charged in the murder of Carter Scott and the attempt on his father, had also been cleared recently in a murder case. Eddie Tarver, 20, has also been charged.

Witnesses in Harvey's previous case had credibility issues, according to his attorney, Jane Loving. He and another man were accused in the 2010 robbery and shooting of Randol Buncombe and Dajuan Harris behind a Cherry Hill home. Buncombe died.

Loving said testimony given by Harris, who survived the attack, did not match physical evidence in the case.

Loving also successfully represented Harvey in an earlier gun case. She has not heard from him about representation in the current case, and no other lawyer is listed for him or Tarver in court records.

She said she was "horrified" when Harvey was charged in connection with the murder of Scott because, like Cox, she had told her client he "should leave Baltimore."

"Being found not guilty in these two cases, I felt like if I was one of the policemen, I might keep a closer eye on him," she said, adding that she worried that her client might be the target of revenge.

Buncombe's mother, Kim Kennebrew, looked at the outcome of that case differently.

She sobbed as she recalled finding out that police alleged that the same man charged in her daughter's death had killed Carter Scott. Kennebrew said she thought the Baltimore justice system had failed her daughter — and now Carter Scott as well.

"I received this phone call now saying this baby is dead," said Kennebrew, who lives in Georgia. "It's hard for me to handle this baby being dead because I had done everything I could have to avoid this baby being dead — to get a conviction for my daughter."

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin George contributed to this article.

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