On Monday, February 26, 2018, TRISTAN R. CARR, d/o/b 7-25-1998, of Forsyth, pleaded guilty to charges of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action, in the Circuit Court of Greene County. Greene County Presiding Circuit Court Judge Michael Cordonnier accepted the guilty plea, ordered a sentencing assessment report, and scheduled Carr’s sentencing hearing for May 24, 2018. Pursuant to a plea agreement Carr made with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, his sentence is capped at twenty (20) years on each of the two (2) felonies, and Carr’s sentences will run concurrently with one another.
Carr had been facing a charge of first degree murder, before the charge was amended to second degree murder for purposes of finalizing a plea agreement. According to the plea agreement, Carr’s sentences –whatever the sentences handed-down by the court – are to run concurrently with one another. Carr entered an Alford plea of guilty – meaning that he admits that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove his guilt, however, not requiring that he formally admit responsibility for the crimes.
At about dusk on October 15, 2016, Taney County 9-1-1 received a call for service from Carr at his home address on Skyline Drive, in Forsyth, in Taney County, Missouri. Carr lived at that home with his parents, but Carr and a friend were the only people at home that evening. Carr reported that he had shot his friend, Eric Summerfield. Officers and emergency responders made contact with defendant, Tristan Carr, at the residence, and found the body of Eric Summerfield bleeding in the road in front of Carr’s home. It was apparent to officers and medical personnel that Eric Summerfield, age eighteen (18), had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Carr explained to investigators that he shot Summerfield because he was unable to tell who was approaching the front door, and shot out of fear. However, Carr had told the 9-1-1 operator that he was playing with the gun and accidentally shot Summerfield. The evidence at trial would have been that Carr had been target shooting with the same pistol used to kill Summerfield earlier the same day, and that Carr had invited Summerfield to his home just a short time before the shooting. Further evidence would be that the front porch lights of Carr’s home were on at the time of the shooting, and medical testimony would explain that the pistol’s muzzle was against Summerfield’s chest at the time of the fatal shot. Multiple witnesses denied hearing an argument between Carr and Summerfield, and described them as friends.
Murder in the second degree carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years or life imprisonment – with the possibility of parole. Armed criminal action carries a minimum sentence of three (3) years in prison, with no maximum.