No Death Penalty For The Suspect

[Original coverage from August 2010]

CHARLOTTE, NC — Demeatrius Montgomery, usually expressionless, grinned at family members as he was escorted out of the courtroom.

The 28-year-old learned from Judge Forrest Bridges that he will not face the death penalty if convicted in the 2007 murders of Officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton.

The judge made the decision after a detective on the case, Arvin Fant, admitted to destroying his investigation notes and gave no solid explanation why.

Chief Rodney Monroe said, “You can’t, ah, teach stupidity.  We’re professionals, trained and taught to be professionals and that’s what the expectation is.”

Chief Monroe says Fant may face criminal charges.

He’s been demoted and placed on administrative leave while the police department’s internal affairs investigates. Monroe says the entire situation is disappointing professionally and personally.

“If there’s any case that would warrant the death penalty, it is this case,” said Monroe.

Montgomery’s attorneys were tight lipped after the decision…

Defense Attorney Duane Bryant said, “No comment, we have absolutely no comment today.”

Even the suspect’s family had nothing to say…

“Weren’t you happy with that result?” asked Bobby. “It’s a step forward don’t you think?”

Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Smith, who is not involved in this case, says the judge made the right decision.

“Judge Bridges has said, ‘I’m not going to put a man’s life at stake when we’ve got this potential issue looming’,” said Smith.

Smith says given the number of cases Fant has investigated over the years, it should have been second nature for him to turn over his notes, as required by state law.

“What the public has got to consider is, why were the notes destroyed?”

The prosecutors, also with no comment Tuesday, say that while Fant’s behavior is inexcusable, his notes weren’t essential because his interviews had all been recorded, too.

-Story by Morgan Fogarty