Stephon Carter was arrested just over a week ago. He is accused of shooting Aiken Public Safety Officer, Scotty Richardson in the head during a traffic stop.
Fox54 spoke with one of Carter's cousins to learn more about the man police say is responsible for the killing. His cousin, John Holston, the Police Chief for Blackville, SC , says Stephon's father, Willie Carter was sentenced to life in prison after he murdered his estranged wife when Stephon was a baby.
Holston said Stephon's decision to shoot an officer wasn't affected by his upbringing, "I think still it goes back to the choices that we make in life; I don't think our environment has an effect on it, our genetics do but it goes back to the choices we make."
Stephon's neighbors tell Fox54 he was raised by his grandmother.
Folks in Aiken have their own opinions about Carter's family life playing a role in the officer shooting.
Brannon McCain said, "Whatever it is that made him do that it was probably done a little easier because of the fact that he has dealt with the concept of murder and the concept of a life being taken without remorse."
"It's not justified at all but it does give us a little inside look to his life to help us understand why a person might make that kind of bad choice," said Don Simmons.
"I mean you don't shoot a cop, that's just not okay. I mean like his dad killed his mom so I'm sure that had effect on the life growing up," said Courtney Burnham.
Courtney Broxton said, "His mom died at a young age, he was only three months, wasn't it? So, I think it played an important fact on what he did. It's no excuse at all but it played an important fact."
"If there's anything about Aiken they have an open mind. So, as much as there may be an instinct to hate this man we're going to hold it back and give him the benefit of the doubt," said Jaime McMahan.
Sarah Knight said, "People that don't have mother figures or father figures or family really at all tend to be less stable than others; because they don't have anyone close that they can rely on…so, I think he just snapped."
SLED says 19-year-old Carter will be charged with murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. His father Willie is eligible for parole in March 2013.
Photo of Willie Carter from the South Carolina Department of Corrections: https://sword.doc.state.sc.us/scdc-public/
Photos of Stephon Carter from: Myspace via The Jail Report