Desmond Keith Carter (Desmond Keith Carter)

Desmond Keith Carter

Desmond Keith Carter (October 15, 1967 – December 10, 2002) was convicted of the 1992 murder of Helen Purdy and executed in 2002 by the State of North Carolina at the Central Prison in Raleigh.  Desmond Carter was born in the state of Rhode Island and lived with his grandmother since his mother moved away when Carter was 3. Eventually, he moved with his grandmother to North Carolina.  Carter started using drugs as a teenager and on March 9, 1992, under the influence of alcohol, crack cocaine, and tranquilizers, killed his 71-year-old neighbor, Helen Purdy, by stabbing her 13 times with a butcher knife, and robbed her of $15 in order to buy cocaine. Not long before Carter committed this crime, his grandmother had tried to get substance abuse and mental health treatment for him, but the hospital refused because he did not have medical insurance coverage.  In July 1993, Carter was sentenced to death for first degree murder and to 40 years imprisonment for robbery with a dangerous weapon. On the eve of his execution, Carter declined a special meal. Instead, he bought two cheeseburgers, a steak sub, and two Cokes from the prison canteen, for which he paid $4.20 from his prison account. He was executed by means of lethal injection on December 10, 2002.  Carter mouthed “I love you, pop” to his father before the drug from the injection put him to sleep. In a statement that was recorded by the warden of Central Prison, Carter said: “The only thing I would like to say is that I apologize to the victim’s family of Ms. Purdy and I would like to apologize to my family for the disappointment and pain I have caused them throughout my life.”


  • October, 15, 1967
  • USA
  • Rhode, Island


  • December, 10, 2002
  • USA
  • Central Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina

Cause of Death

  • execution by lethal injection

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