A Paris man pleads no contest to first-degree murder in the death of a 2-year old, and arson last week, and was sentenced to 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction for each offense. The sentences will run concurrently.
Ricky Lee Carter, 29, was arrested after admitting to investigators he caused Ryatt Reese to fall to his death on Dec. 21, 2017, and subsequently caused a gas explosion in the Paris home where the death occurred.
According to a Paris Express report, Carter told Arkansas State Police investigators he grabbed Reese by the ankles and pulled him toward the bed he was sitting on after Reese threw up twice. Carter initially told State Police he caused the explosion to cover up the child’s death, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Carter, during his forensic evaluation in September of 2018, said he caused the explosion in the house to kill himself because he regretted his actions.
“It just popped in my head, blow yourself up, you know,” he said in the evaluation.
Carter, in the evaluation, said he sat on a bed next to Reese until he could smell gas and then struck a lighter without thinking about the other children in the house. He said the force of the explosion slammed him to the floor, and that the police were there soon after.
Forensic examiners also noted Carter reported “on and off” methamphetamine and heroin use throughout his life and multiple arrests on suspicion of domestic violence and child abuse, the report states.
Examiners assessed from the evaluation that although Carter could have one or multiple personality disorders, such conditions don’t usually rise to the level of mental disease. Officials also believed Carter had the ability to comprehend his actions when he committed them, the report states.
In accordance with last week’s plea agreement, the state will not pursue terroristic threatening and second-degree battery charges Carter incurred while incarcerated on the murder charge.
Carter had allegedly told an inmate he was going to kill him because the inmate had called Carter a baby killer and Carter was also accused of pushing a detention officer attempting to defuse the situation.
Carter received credit for 538 days to time served while in the Logan County Detention Center since his arrest. He had been held in lieu of a $1 million bond.
The Paris Express contributed information used in this report.