Hal Carter

My Mission

My mission is to turn tragedy into good.

Hal Carter

“Early in my trial practice career, my legal secretary complimented me on my writing and urged me to write a book. I chuckled and replied that I didn’t have anything to write a book about. And I didn’t - until an eerie dream about someone I loved woke me from a sound sleep only moments after her, her father and nephew were brutally murdered and I became the prime suspect.”

Hal Carter

Polite and somewhat shy as a boy, Hal Carter grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana first wanting to become a minister, then, a major-league pitcher. His father was a hard-working wholesale meat distributor from a farming family. His mother was a homemaker from a once-wealthy oil family. He had a mammy who was almost like a mother to him. Even though his family was not very church going, he religiously said his prayers every night and served as an altar boy in his Episcopal Church. A “Rapid Learner” in school he also loved sports. He pitched two no-hitters during his last year in baseball and had college golf scholarship opportunities. But he had to abandon his hope for an athletic scholarship and sports career when his parents divorced. After-school jobs replaced football, baseball, track, and golf. Overcoming his natural introversion, “Mr. Nice Guy” served in Student Government and was voted Senior Favorite at Shreveport’s nationally recognized C. E. Byrd High School.

Hal Carter worked his way through Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA by roughnecking on offshore drilling rigs during school breaks before suffering a disabling spinal injury on a rig. After three major surgeries over three years, his doctor told him that his partial disability would become a complete disability in time, and that he would never be able to lead a normal life again. But, through developing a diet and exercise routine, he essentially overcame his disability and resumed a normal life. He returned to L.S.U. and earned his degree with economics and psychology majors. After working as the Louisiana Managing General Agent for a prominent insurance company, he attended the L.S.U. Law Center. During law school, Hal Carter read famed Wyoming trial lawyer Gerry Spence’s bestselling Gunning for Justice. Inspired by the book, he decided to become something no one who grew up with him would ever have imagined Mr. Nice Guy would become - a trial lawyer.

After earning his Juris Doctorate, he clerked for a Louisiana First Judicial District Court judge. He turned down offers to work for a couple of prestigious insurance defense firms so he could represent indigent criminal defendants with the Caddo Parish Indigent Defender’s Office. As an Indigent Defender, he was in court almost daily defending his clients from charges ranging from possession of marijuana to murder. Hal Carter was an aggressive, controversial Indigent Defender whose tactics made front-page headlines. The media called him a “maverick.” After two years defending his indigent clients, the board of lawyers overseeing the I.D. Office warned him to rein in his tactics or be fired. Although his time as an Indigent Defender was probably the most enjoyable of his legal career, he promptly resigned.

In private practice, Hal Carter’s first client was James Monds. He defended James Monds pro bono in a rape and murder case of Vicky Thomas that drew national attention. During the case, he worked with Diane Sawyer, who interviewed him for her 60 Minutes story “Who Killed Vicki Thomas?” - which ultimately helped to free James Monds.

Wanting to become The South’s Gerry Spence one day, he traveled to Portland, Oregon to watch Gerry Spence in trial. During the murder trial of State of Oregon v. Sandra Jones, Gerry Spence introduced himself and invited him to help him defend Sandra Jones.

Hal Carter’s second case was a shotgun personal injury case which Gerry Spence referred to him. After learning details about the case, Spence thought the case could not be won and advised him not to take the case. Hal Carter took the case anyway - and won it. He took cases other attorneys had rejected and built a plaintiff personal injury reputation by winning them. As his practice grew, he became an Instrument Rated pilot to service his expanding trial practice.

At the height of his trial career, he became front-page headline news as the prime suspect in the November 4, 1989 brutal murders of someone he loved, her father and young nephew. Called “murderer” and the target of death threats, he lost his law practice and almost everything else, including his belief in God. Having lost almost everything he had to lose and told by many that his life had been “ruined,” he left his Shreveport hometown and moved as far away as he could to the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle, Washington. Despite the almost 2,500-mile distance across the Rockies and Continental Divide, Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s murders followed him to Washington State where he was watched around the clock by Washington State law enforcement.

To help deal with Julie Grissom’s murder, he began writing a daily journal. It was the genesis of his upcoming book and screenplay about his experience following Julie, Tom and Sean Grissom’s murders.

Not working, fearing the killer may be stalking him, and the enormity of what happened in Shreveport finally hit him. As he lost all hope and any purpose for his life, Hal Carter took a deep dive into a dark depression that almost took his life. But, through a recovery plan he devised from his psychology education, Hal Carter battled through the depression and found purpose for his life – find Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s killer and find out what the dream he had about Julie Grissom that woke him just after her murder really was.

With help from his own Deep Throat, he began his personal Grissom Murder Investigation. After identifying who he believed could be the Grissom Killer, he moved to Atlanta, GA to be closer to the infamous Gainesville Murder prosecution of Danny Rolling.

Despite being known in the Atlanta legal community as the prime suspect in several murders, Hal Carter worked tirelessly to build a new law practice in Georgia - beginning with becoming a public defender defending appointed indigent criminal cases. Ultimately returning to representing plaintiff personal injury clients, he won every civil jury trial he tried. One of his most noted cases made Atlanta Journal-Constitution front-page headlines when he won a multi-million jury award for his Atlanta cabby’s share of a winning Georgia Lottery Jackpot ticket. Hal Carter began his private practice defending James Monds pro bono and represented so many Atlanta clients pro bono that he was dubbed “the Pro Bono Lawyer”.

After years of failed attempts to contact Danny Rolling about Julie, Tom and Sean Grissom’s murders, Hal Carter’s chance to clear himself began rapidly closing when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a Death Warrant setting a date for Rolling’s Gainesville Murders’ execution. In a real-life race against the Executioner, Hal Carter orchestrated Rolling’s written confession to the Grissom Murders - on the day of Rolling’s October 25, 2006 execution.

The local, regional and national media ran stories about Rolling’s confession. CNN and the major news networks reported the story. The Atlanta television news media interviewed Hal Carter and aired a story about it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a Sunday morning feature story about Hal Carter orchestrating Rolling’s confession and Louisiana based national subscription SB Magazine published a cover story about it. SB’s “JUDGE NOT” edition quickly sold out, requiring a second printing that also sold out. Book and movie offers came in for his story, but Hal Carter turned them down. He decided to write the book and screenplay himself so he could make any book or movie true to his true story and made completing them his top priority. Then his father had a stroke.

Hal Carter put his book, screenplay, and Atlanta, GA law practice on hold for what he believed would be a few months to move back to Shreveport to be his father’s caregiver during his final months. But those few months stretched into over eight years primarily spent as his father’s caregiver and defending a relative in an Arkansas real estate lawsuit. After over seven years and three trips to the Arkansas Supreme Court, Hal Carter won the hard-fought Arkansas case. Despite this win, because of the many years away from Atlanta, Hal Carter’s Georgia law practice finally became just a memory. And, after over eight years as his father’s caregiver, his father passed from a second major stroke.

Hal Carter still lives in Shreveport. He is determined to turn something very bad into something good and prove that his life has not been “ruined” by making this world a little better through sharing what he has learned from his journey following Julie, Tom, and Sean’s murders. ABC's KTBS News recently ran a two-part "Rebuilding a Life" story on Hal Carter's journey to turn something bad into something good. Today Hal Carter is finally pursuing his passion - completing his WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES book and screenplay and launching his “WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES, How to Go Through Hell and Still Live a Long, Healthy, Happy Life” health and wellness inspirational speaking career.

Hal Carter is following his heart, working to accomplish something that may have never been done before by one person: write a bestselling memoir, write the screenplay for it that becomes an Oscar-nominated Best Picture, and become a popular health and wellness inspirational speaker about how to physically, mentally and spiritually overcome and grow from life’s challenges and still live a long, healthy, happy life.

For more about Hal Carter’s WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES book, movie or health and wellness inspirational speaking, please go to the navigational bar above and click on the Book, Movie or Speaking pages. For the latest news about Hal Carter, his book, his movie or his speaking, click on the navigational bar’s Blog page. To contact Hal Carter or join our e-mail list to receive the latest news about Hal Carter’s book, movie and speaking, please click on the navigational bar’s Contact page.

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