Prosecutors say DNA on knife belongs to man accused of killing neighbor

Jim Melwert
June 12, 2019 - 3:09 pm
Clayton Carter stands trial for the fatal shooting of his neighbor George Jennings

Courtesy of the Chester County Police Department


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Testimony has wrapped in the case against the Chester County man accused of killing his next-door neighbor back in 2017. 

Clayton Carter said he shot his neighbor, George “Brooks” Jennings, in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 because he saw Jennings pull a knife.

The two were arguing along their property line on Box Elder Drive in West Goshen Township.

Prosecutors pointed to DNA tests that found the defendant’s DNA on the knife that was recovered from the scene, even though he said he never touched it. Jennings was shot twice in the head. 

In his statement to police, which was played for the jury, Carter said when he saw the blade, he pulled out his handgun and fired, but he didn’t think he hit Jennings.

He stood over Jennings, who still had the knife near his hand. Thinking Jennings was faking it, he fired another shot.

Related: Self-defense or murder? Chesco man stands trial for shooting neighbor

A ballistics expert testified that second shot was fired from eight to 18 inches away from Jennings' face.

The defense is calling an expert on intoxication, as Jennings had a blood-alcohol level of .198 — about two-and-a-half times the legal limit. They will also call a DNA expert in an effort to explain why the defendant’s DNA was found on a knife he claims he never touched.

The defendant’s daughter testified that two years before the shooting, Jennings came to their house and tried to open the storm door. Carter told him to leave, but she said Jennings just stood there. Her dad got a shotgun and pointed it at him, and then he left.

But on cross-examination, prosecutors asked her about a statement she gave after the 2017 shooting: She told police she was scared for Jennings because her dad "has a short fuse and was sometimes paranoid."

Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning.