By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
The stepson of a Barbourville murder victim wants people to know his stepfather was a good man.
“He was a generous person,” said Corbin resident Gary Craig of his stepfather, Earl Carter, 75, who was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds Tuesday in his Barbourville home.
“He helped others who needed help,” Craig said Wednesday.
Kentucky State Police arrested Charlene Sue King, 49, of Barbourville Tuesday. She had contacted 911 minutes after Carter was shot and during the call King admitted to the 911 dispatcher she was the shooter.
But while she made clear to the dispatcher her motive for shooting Carter was “he was trying to take advantage” of her, Craig doesn’t believe that’s the case.
“This thing about ‘he was trying to rape me’ — I just don’t buy it,” Craig said. “When I heard her (King) say that it bothered me a lot.”
King told the Knox County dispatcher she was Carter’s live-in caretaker. But according to Craig, “he (Carter) told me he had a personal relationship with her.
“(But) I’m not sure she even lived there.”
Craig said she had been married to his first cousin, Walter King, owner of the former Outback Cabinets, and that he has known her for some time.
Carter, a widow whose wife, Earline, Craig’s mother, died from cancer in 1999, moved to Barbourvllle from Taylor’s Mill in 2000, Craig said.
The retired Carter had been a fire reconstructionist for an Ohio company, Craig said, but “carpentry and repair work were his trade.”
Craig said his stepfather was remodeling his J. Goodin Branch Road home. “In fact, he just had the foundation poured for a new garage,” he said.
Craig explained that last year Carter suffered serious heart problems, which required him to have a pacemaker. “The doctors told him only 15 percent of his heart worked properly,” he said.
After the pacemaker was put in, Craig said his stepfather required home health care for some time, but hadn’t needed help to his knowledge. “He seemed fine (last month),” said Craig. “You couldn’t tell anybody was living with him.
“The last couple of years, he’s lived alone,” Craig continued. “He never said anything to me about having one (a caretaker).”
Craig said his stepfather was slow due to his health, but that he would drive himself wherever he needed to go. “He went out to eat,” Craig said. “In fact, I recently took him to Burger King and he ate the first Whopper he’d had in about 30 years.
“And he said it was pretty good.”
He said family and friends remain shocked at Carter’s murder. “He was always good to my mother, and my wife and kids,” Craig said. “We were heartbroken and saddened by this — for him and for her (King).
“This is a tragedy for both of them as far as we’re concerned.”
But while he “is saddened” by the situation, that doesn’t excuse what happened Tuesday, according to Craig. “I’m going to do everything I can to see to it that she is held accountable for what she’s done.”
He said there were no signs of trouble. “We’re in shock. She (King) seemed so nice.
“We never dreamed she’d do something like this,” continued Craig. “We were just getting ready to call and invite him for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Craig said his stepfather was active in church, attending the First Baptist Church on Main Street in Barbourville.
Arrangements remain incomplete, but Craig said he hopes for a memorial service in Barbourville, with a burial set in Taylors Mill.
King faces murder charges and remains in Knox County Jail.