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Why two cops went looking for Carter
• 2 Witnesses Identify Carter's Car
• Live Ammo Found in Car
• Witness Identifies Carter
• Carter Fails Lie Test
• Carter Creates False Alibi
• Victim's Sketch Resembles Artis
• Before Murders, Carter Hunts for Guns
• Carter was in Bar Just Down the Street
• Prosecutor says Motive was Racial Revenge
• Survivor Tells Brother: It was Carter


Map of Getaway

Carter's Car Matches Killers' Car


The Crime in Brief: On the evening of June 16, 1966, a white man murdered a black man in a black bar. It was a business dispute. The killing caused an uproar in the black community and there was talk of revenge. The stepson of the murdered man was Eddie Rawls, a friend of Rubin Carter. Rawls was very upset, and told police, "If you don't take care of it, I will." Rawls and Carter were seen together that night.

About six hours after the murder, two black men walked into a nearby white bar, The Lafayette Grill. They shot everyone and walked out. It was not a robbery. The first to die was a known racist: the bartender.

As this was happening, small-time crooks Al Bello and Dexter Bradley were conducting an unsuccessful break-in down the block. Bello needed cigarettes and walked to The Lafayette Grill. He arrived just as the gunmen emerged. They were laughing and talking loudly. Bello came to within 15 feet of them when he realized they were not armed detectives. He turned and ran. The gunman raced to their car, quickly looked for Bello, and drove off.

Inside the bar, two men were dead, a grandmother was fatally wounded, and a man was seriously wounded in the head. He would be the only survivor.

About 10 minutes later and one mile away, Rubin Carter and John Artis were pulled over by police. The officers let them go — the description of the killers' getaway car was not yet complete.


Do you know how Carter got caught? Do you think it was massive plot by a racist conspiracy? Not at all.

At the murder scene just 20 minutes after the crime, witness Al Bello described the killers’ getaway car to two cops. Coincidentally, those two cops had stopped Carter’s car just minutes before — and had let it go! The cops immediately recognized the car from Bello's description and went back on the road to look for it. They found it 10 minutes later and took Carter and John Artis into custody (photo of Carter at right).

THAT is how Rubin Carter got sucked into this case — good police work by two ordinary cops. It had nothing to do with racist plots, vindictive cops, or widespread conspiracies. It was over and done with just 30 minutes after the crime. The case against Carter was born  —  and the chief detective in the case wasn’t even out of bed yet. You won’t find this information in Norman Jewison's horribly misleading movie and those biased books, but it is indisputably true. --- Cal Deal

Two Eyewitnesses Identify Carter's Car
as the Killers' Getaway Car

----- Less than hour after the crime, Pat Valentine (photo, lower right) and Al Bello positively identified Carter's car as the killers' getaway car. See: [Valentine's view of getaway][Valentine statement] • [Valentine 1967 trial testimony -- PDF file] • [Al Bello Page]

----- Bello and Valentine described Carter's car to police BEFORE it was brought back to the murder scene.

----- Carter admits driving down 12th Avenue at virtually the same time as the escaping killers (2:35 a.m.), but wants you to believe the killers were in an identical car on the same deserted street heading in the same direction (away from the murder scene) at virtually the same time in the middle of the night.[See taillight comparison] [See map]

----- TValentinehe killers' car had out-of-state plates. Carter's car had out-of-state plates. No other white car stopped by police that night had out-of-state plates. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- The butterfly taillights seen by two witnesses were unique to one model of car — Carter's car, a Dodge Polara. [1975 news story]

----- Identification points matching Carter's car: Large, white, highly-polished, brand-new, butterfly taillights, out-of-state plates, black occupants, near crime scene. [TOP]

Live Ammo Found in Carter's Car
Fit the Murder Weapons

----- Two live rounds that could have been fired from the two murder weapons were found in Carter's car 90 minutes after the murders and were logged that day. [Homicide report]

----- The live rounds were found long before ballistics determined the caliber of the handgun used in the crime. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Three witnesses — a citizen, a reporter and a detective — saw the live rounds minutes after they were found. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Carter testified in 1967 that he was shown the bullet on the morning of the murders, and Artis testified he saw both the shotgun shell and the bullet. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Pat Valentine told Cal Deal about the shotgun shell in September 1975 — more than a year before she testified about it (the defense strongly suggested she was lying). She repeated her story in an interview with Deal tape recorded in January 1976. (She did not testify about it at the first trial because it was not an issue.) [TOP]

Bill O'Reilly:
"If they did find the ammunition in the car, and there's no credible evidence that it was planted, that's a strong piece of information."

-- Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor"
-- February 2000

[Note: There is NO credible evidence that the live rounds were planted.]

Bello Identifies Carter as the
Man with the Shotgun


-----Al Bello Seconds after the murders, Al Bello saw both gunmen face-to-face from less than 15 feet away, according to his trial testimony. He ran for his life, which was witnessed by a nearby resident. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Within five minutes of the murders — long before police knew what type of weapons were used — Bello told police the gunmen were carrying a shotgun and a pistol. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Hours later, Bello identified Carter as the killer with the shotgun. "Rubin Carter shot up the whole bar," he told friend Ken Kellogg. Read story.

----- In his formal statement to police (6/18/66), Bello's description of the gunman matched Carter.

----- Four months later, Bello reluctantly identified Carter by name to police. He decided to talk after someone warned him to keep his mouth shut about Carter. He was rattled by that threat. Bello identified the second gunman as John Artis. [More about Bello's testimony]

----- In Carter's 1976 trial, Judge Leopizzi told the jurors to FREE Carter and Artis if they didn't believe Bello. They voted for conviction in just eight hours. [Judge's statement] [TOP]

Carter, Artis Fail
Lie Detector Tests

----- Carter and Artis failed lie detector tests hours after the crime — a fact confirmed for this web site by the polygraph operator himself! [Read story on Lie Test Page]

----- Before his second trial, Carter got an amazing, no-lose offer from the Prosecutor himself: Pass a lie detector test and GO FREE. Carter refused to take the test. [Read the actual letters.]

----- In all, Carter has refused at least four requests that he take a second lie test. Click here.

----- In 1976, eyewitness Al Bello passed two lie tests regarding his identification of Carter. Click here. [TOP]

Carter Creates
a False Alibi

----- Carter tried to feed the details of his alibi story to his two key alibi witnesses before his first trial. He did it in a letter he wrote to them from jail in 1967. The letter was intercepted by authorities. [Read Carter's jailhouse letter]

----- Nine years later, four of Carter's black alibi witnesses told a black investigator that they had lied at the first trial. [1976 news story] (Carter no longer mentions this alibi story, which appears on Page 242 of his book.)

----- Carter and Artis claimed they were together on the night of the murders, but when questioned by police they gave conflicting statements about their whereabouts. [Comparison chart]

----- Carter has given three completely different versions of his whereabouts that night: one to police that morning, one at his first trial and the story he tells today. [TOP]

Shooting Victim's Sketch
Resembles John Artis

----- Three weeks after the shootings, victim Hazel Tanis guided a police artist in making a sketch of one gunman. The sketch looks like John Artis. [Read news story]

----- A week later, Tanis died. As a result, this sketch was inadmissible at trial. [Obituary] [TOP]

Hours Before the Murders,
Carter Hunts for His Missing Guns

----- Although his .12 gauge shotgun and some rifles had been stolen a year earlier, Carter went looking for them shortly before the triple murder. [Prosecutor's brief]

----- Carter failed to mention the search when he gave details of his activities that night in his statement to police. [Details from statement] [TOP]

Carter was in a Bar Just 1,320 Feet
from the Murder Scene

----- Minutes before the triple murders, Carter & Artis were in The Nite Spot bar, just five blocks from The Lafayette Grill. [See photo showing both bars] [See aerial map with scale]

----- Carter was last seen in the Nite Spot by his friend, bar manager Elwood Tuck, at 2:15 a.m. The murders occurred 15 minutes later. [Prosecutor's brief] [TOP]

Prosecutor says Murders were Revenge
for Earlier Killing of a Black Man

----- Earlier that night, a white man killed the stepfather of Carter's friend Eddie Rawls. It was a business dispute, not a racial matter. THIS MURDER IS THE MOTIVE FOR THE LAFAYETTE GRILL TRIPLE MURDER, according to the prosecutor. [Prosecutor's brief][Revenge mentioned at end of first news article on shootings]

----- The killing angered Paterson's black community and there was talk of revenge.

----- Rawls was upset. "If you don't take care of it, I will," he told police.

----- Eddie Rawls and Carter were seen together that night at the Nite Spot bar — just 1,320 feet from the Lafayette Grill, where the triple murder would later take place. [See map]

----- The Lafayette Grill didn't serve blacks but was on the edge of a black neighborhood.

----- All of the Lafayette Grill victims were white. The first to die: The racist white bartender.

----- There were no other acts that could be construed as "revenge" that night.

----- Shortly after the murders, a white car later identified as Carter's was seen leaving the murder scene. [See witness' view]

----- Minutes later, a white car (like Carter's) was seen near the Nite Spot. (Prosecutors believe they picked up a local alcoholic for an alibi. They were "taking him home.") [See graphic]

----- A white car was seen seconds later racing down 12th Avenue — away from the Nite Spot and away from the murder scene. It was heading toward Eddie Rawls' apartment.

----- The white car was followed by a black car. Rawls owned a black car, according to Elwood Tuck.

----- Minutes later police stopped Carter's car. It was on Eddie Rawls' street and heading away from Rawls' apartment. (Prosecutors believe they dumped the guns at Rawls' apartment.) [See graphic]

----- Carter was hiding in the back seat (probably fearing Bello had already identified him). [Officer's trial 1967 testimony]

----- Carter claims he was going home to get money, but the street was not a through street to his house.

----- Carter and Artis were let go because police were looking for a white car with two blacks, and this one had three (remember the alibi witness). [TOP]

Carter, Artis Were the Gunmen,
Shooting Survivor Told Close Friends


The lone surviving victim of the 1966 Lafayette Grill shootings positively identified Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and John Artis as the gunmen, according to the his brother and some friends. Full news story from Oct. 16, 1975. [TOP]


— Cal Deal