Arrest in West Goshen homicide

The West Goshen Township Police Department and the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of defendant Clayton P. Carter for the crime of homicide.  At approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 8, at 314 Box Elder Drive, West Goshen Township, Chester County, the defendant shot and killed his next-door neighbor, G. Brooks Jennings.  The defendant and the victim had been involved in a long-running neighborhood dispute that culminated with the defendant shooting the victim once, then standing over the victim’s body and shooting him a second time in the head.

The defendant is 51 years old.  He resides at 312 Box Elder Drive, West Chester.

West Goshen Township Police Chief Joe Gleason stated, “It is a sad situation when neighbors can’t put their differences aside for the sake of a peaceful community.  Such a senseless circumstance which only results in tragedy for multiple families.”

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said, “The West Goshen Township Police Department and Chester County Detectives did an excellent job responding quickly and efficiently to this homicide.  This killing leaves a wife without a husband, a little boy without his father, and a community in shock and mourning.”

According to the criminal complaint, at approximately 7:50 p.m. on Aug. 7, the West Goshen Police responded to another dispute between the defendant and the victim about cursing and a video recording in the back yard.  The police resolved the dispute.

At approximately 1 a.m. on August 8, a few hours later, the defendant and the victim got into another dispute.  The defendant claimed that the victim was shining a light into his eyes while he was outside.  The defendant ended up pulling a car onto his own lawn and shining the high beams of the car at the victim on the victim’s lawn.

The defendant had retrieved a .380 caliber semi-automatic Ruger handgun from his residence.  The defendant confronted the victim again outside.  The defendant shot the victim once in the head while the victim was standing, which knocked the victim to the ground.  The defendant then stood over the victim and shot him a second time in the head.  The victim was on his own property.

In a recorded and Mirandized statement, the defendant admitted the details of the ongoing disputes and shooting the victim.  The defendant claimed that the victim threatened him with a knife, but the defendant had no injuries.  The defendant did not call the police and did not render aid to the victim.

Multiple witnesses heard the gunshots and reported a timing gap between the first and second shot.  The victim’s wife heard the first shot and looked out the window.  She saw the victim lying motionless on the ground, then the defendant stood over the victim and shot him in the head.

At the scene, police recovered two shell casings, the gun, and a knife.  One shell casing was located on the defendant’s property.  The second shell casing was located on the victim’s property, in close proximity to the victim’s body, consistent with the defendant firing the second shot into the victim’s head while the victim was on the ground.

The defendant has been charged with murder and related offenses.  He has been remanded to Chester County Prison.

Anybody with any further information should contact West Goshen Detective Dave Maurer at 610-696-7400 Chester County Detective John O’Donnell at 610-344-6866.

 

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