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Police officer pleads not guilty to domestic violence charges

<i>Mobile County Metro Jail/WALA</i><br/>Markell Carter charged with assaulting his girlfriend pleaded not guilty.
Mobile County Metro Jail/WALA
Mobile County Metro Jail/WALA
Markell Carter charged with assaulting his girlfriend pleaded not guilty.

By Brendan Kirby

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — A Prichard police officer charged with assaulting his girlfriend pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three domestic violence charges and one count of interfering with an emergency call.

Markell Anthony Carter’s attorney, Scott Hawk, also asked a judge to hold the alleged victim in contempt for violating a court order prohibiting contact between the two. But Mobile County District Judge George Zoghby said the no-contact order applied only to the defendant. He issued a new order on Wednesday prohibiting the victim from contacting the defendant in person, by phone or through social media.

Hawk told the judge he had filed a report with the police in Chickasaw, where his client lives.

“I think she intentionally set him up. … She intentionally did it to set him up,” he said. “He’s a sitting duck in his house.”

Prosecutors allege that Carter, 28, grabbed the victim’s neck and put a hand over her face on March 22, causing her to fall to her knees. She suffered bruising on the right side of her neck, minor bruises under her left eye and redness to the right eye, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint also alleges that Carter pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill her.

Hawk said Carter denies those allegations.

“Everybody’s innocent until proven guilty,” he told FOX10 News outside the courtroom.

Zoghby set the case for a preliminary hearing on May 10.

Carter remains employed by the Prichard Police Department and is performing desk duty, according to his lawyer. As a condition of bond, the defendant must wear an ankle monitoring device and cannot leave his home except to go to work, church, the doctor, his lawyer’s office or other destinations approved by the court.

It is not he first time Carter has been charged with domestic violence. Records show Carter has been arrested at least four other times on domestic violence charges in Mobile County. But authorities dropped those pervious charges for various reasons.

Hawk told the just he believes the no-contact order already applied to both the defendant and the victim. He said if the victim contacted the defendant, the defendant could be found to have violated the terms of his order.

“If he showed up at her house, I’m sure this honorable court would lock him up for a long time,” he said.

Zoghby said the victim is on notice now.

“If she violates that, you’re welcome to file your motion,” he told Hawk.

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