Temporary judge granted HIP to teen later charged with murder

A judge who came out of retirement to fill in for other judges granted the HIP order for a teenage shooting suspect who was later accused of committing a murder while he was on home incarceration.

The judge who signed the order which lowered a bond amount and making it possible for a teenage shooting suspect to take part in the Home Incarceration Program said he likely used the best judgment on the information available at the time.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, retired Jefferson County Circuit Judge Fred Cowan said he could not recall the August 2016 hearing for Jeremiah Carter specifically but said, “Judges make these decisions all the time using the best judgment and I guess that’s what I did.”

Carter, 16, was accused of opening fire in a crowd watching the 2016 Pegasus Parade Shooting.

Carter initially faced charges in the juvenile court system because of his age. Court records show a district court judge set bond at $10 thousand full cash and if the bond was posted, Carter would receive home incarceration.

The bond was never posted.

Once Carter was indicted, he was considered an adult and the case was transferred to circuit court where the case made its way to Cowan’s courtroom.

Cowan had recently come out of retirement to fill in for judges for a couple of weeks when he received the Carter case, a clerk at the Court Administrator’s Office said.

“5,000 10% once posted HIP with No Release,” a note on the order Cowan signed read. The ‘No Release’ note meant there would be no pre-approved places Carter could go while on the juvenile version of HIP.

Records show Carter’s mother posted the needed $500 bond the day after Cowan’s order.

Carter, the records show, had no problems while he was on HIP until October 9 where records indicate his monitor had been removed.

“According to the Louisville Metro Police Department, there was criminal activity that the youth may have been involved with at or about the time that the youth removed his device,” a Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services report noted.

According to an arrest report for Carter dated October 9 and marked with the same timestamp as the time of the device being removed, detectives said Carter shot his neighbor after the two were involved in an argument.

Kontar Roberson, 37, died from the injuries.

“Obviously, any murder is a tragedy,” Cowan said.

The victims in the parade shooting and relatives for Roberson could not be reached for comment.

The issue of suspects who were granted home incarceration and were later accused of committing new crimes has been scrutinized in recent months primarily in arraignment court.

Still, because of Cowan’s retirement and fill-in status, it was not immediately clear if there is a pattern of home incarceration being granted in cases similar to Carter’s.

In February 2018, Carter entered a guilty plea in the parade shooting. He is currently serving a 15-year sentence in the case while he awaits prosecution in the murder.

Investigative producer Andrea Ash contributed to this report. iTeam Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at (502) 582-7232 and dnrose@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter: @WHAS11DRose.