My mission is to turn tragedy into good.
Welcome to My Book, Movie, Inspirational Speaking and Blog Website!
Many well-meaning people told me that my life had been “ruined” after I became the prime suspect in Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s murders. But today my goal is to accomplish something that may have never been done before by one person: write a bestselling memoir and screenplay of it which becomes an Oscar-nominated Best Picture hit and become a popular inspirational speaker who uses the story to illustrate how to physically, mentally, and spiritually overcome and even grow from Life’s challenges. Through this blog and website, I hope you will enjoy following my journey and will even help me achieve this goal.
Many who are interested in my true story ask about my progress on my book and movie and when they will be out. My book will be out in 2017 and I am working to get the movie out in 2018.
Through this blog, I will regularly post news about my book and movie progress. I may also post recently completed portions of the book and screenplay. Because much of my inspirational speaking comes from what is in my book and screenplay, I will also post related news or comments about my speaking engagements.
I welcome and encourage your sincere comments and feedback about whatever I post.
To launch this blog, I am posting two posts to answer two of my most often asked questions. One post is background about how someone who never thought about writing any book is writing this book. Similarly, my second post is the backstory about how someone who never thought about writing a movie screenplay is writing one and hoping to coproduce the movie of it.
“Early in my trial practice career, my legal secretary complimented me on my writing and urged me to write a book. I chuckled and replied that I didn’t have anything to write a book about. And I didn’t - until an eerie dream about someone I loved woke me from a sound sleep only moments after her, her father and nephew were brutally murdered - and I became the prime suspect.”
Polite and somewhat shy as a boy, Hal Carter grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana wanting to become a minister and a major-league pitcher. His father was a hard-working wholesale meat distributor from a farming family. His mother was a homemaker from a once-wealthy oil family. Much like the Gone With the Wind movie’s unforgettable character “Mammy,” Hal’s childhood mammy was like a mother to him.
Even though his family was not very church going, Hal religiously said his prayers every night and served as an altar boy in his Episcopal Church. A “Rapid Learner” in school Hal also loved sports.He was a running back and linebacker in football, pitched two no-hitters during his last year in baseball and had college golf scholarship opportunities.
But he had to abandon his hope for an athletic scholarship and sports career when his parents divorced. After-school jobs replaced football, baseball, track, and golf. Overcoming his natural introversion, “Mr. Nice Guy” served in Student Government and was voted Senior Favorite by fellow students at his nationally recognized C. E. Byrd High School.
Hal worked his way through Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA by roughnecking on offshore drilling rigs during school breaks before suffering a disabling spinal injury on a rig. After three major surgeries over three years, his doctor told him that his partial disability would become a complete disability in time, and that he would never be able to lead a normal life again. But, through developing a diet and exercise routine, he essentially overcame his disability and resumed a normal life. Hal returned to L.S.U. and earned his degree with economics and psychology concentrations. After working as the Louisiana Managing General Agent for a prominent insurance company, Hal attended the L.S.U. Law Center. During law school, Hal read famed Wyoming trial lawyer Gerry Spence’s bestselling Gunning for Justice. Inspired by the book, he decided to become something no one who grew up with him would ever have imagined Mr. Nice Guy would become - a trial lawyer.
After earning his Juris Doctorate, Hal clerked for a Louisiana First Judicial District Court judge. He turned down offers to work for a couple of prestigious insurance defense firms so he could represent indigent criminal defendants with the Caddo Parish Indigent Defender’s Office. As an Indigent Defender, he was in court almost daily defending his clients from charges ranging from possession of marijuana to murder. Hal was an aggressive and controversial Indigent Defender whose tactics made front-page headlines. The media called him a “maverick.” After two years defending his indigent clients, the board of lawyers overseeing the I.D. Office warned him to rein in his tactics or be fired. Although his time as an Indigent Defender was probably the most enjoyable of his legal career, he promptly resigned from the Indigent Defender’s Office.
In private practice, Hal first client was James Monds. He defended James Monds pro bono in a rape and murder case of Vicky Thomas that drew national attention. During the case, he worked with Diane Sawyer, who interviewed him for her 60 Minutes story “Who Killed Vicky Thomas?” - which ultimately helped to free James Monds.
Wanting to become The South’s Gerry Spence one day, he traveled to Portland, Oregon to watch Gerry Spence in trial. During the murder trial of State of Oregon v. Sandra Jones, Gerry Spence introduced himself and invited him to help him defend Sandra Jones.
Hal second private practice case was a shotgun personal injury case which Gerry Spence referred to him. After learning details about the case, Spence thought the case could not be won and advised Hal to not take the case. Hal took the case anyway - and won it. He took cases other attorneys had rejected and built a plaintiff personal injury reputation by winning them. As his practice grew, Hal became an Instrument Rated pilot to service his expanding trial practice.
At the height of his trial career, though, Hal became front-page headline news as the prime suspect in the November 4, 1989 brutal murders of someone he loved, her father and 8-year-old nephew. Called “murderer” and the target of death threats, he lost his law practice and almost everything else, including his life-long belief in God. Despite the almost 2,500-mile distance across the Rockies and Continental Divide, Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s murders followed Hal to Washington State where he was watched around the clock by Washington state, county and local law enforcement.
To help deal with Julie Grissom’s murder, Hal began writing a daily journal. It was the genesis of his upcoming book and screenplay about his experience following Julie, Tom and Sean Grissom’s murders.
Out of work, fearing the killer was stalking him as the killer’s next target and the enormity of what happened in Shreveport finally hit him. As he lost all hope and any purpose for his life, Hal Carter descended into a dark depression that almost took his life one day on a snowy Cascade Mountain road. But, through a recovery plan he devised from his psychology education, Hal battled through the depression and found purpose for his life – find Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s killer and find out what the dream he had about Julie Grissom that woke him just after her murder really was.
With help from his own Deep Throat, he began his personal Grissom Murder Investigation. After identifying who he believed could be the Grissom Killer, he moved to Atlanta, GA to be closer to the infamous Gainesville Murder prosecution of Danny Rolling.
Despite being known in the Atlanta legal community as the prime suspect in several murders, Hal Carter worked tirelessly to build a new law practice in Georgia - beginning with becoming a public defender defending appointed indigent criminal cases. Ultimately returning to representing plaintiff personal injury clients, he won every civil jury trial he tried. One of his most noted cases made Atlanta Journal-Constitution front-page headlines when he won a multi-million jury award for his Atlanta cab driver’s share of a winning Georgia Lottery Jackpot ticket. Hal began his private practice defending James Monds pro bono and represented so many Atlanta clients pro bono that he was dubbed “the Pro Bono Lawyer”.
After years of failed attempts to contact Danny Rolling about Julie, Tom and Sean Grissom’s murders, Hal chance to clear himself began rapidly closing when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a Death Warrant setting a date for Rolling’s Gainesville Murders’ execution. In a real-life race against the Executioner, Hal Carter orchestrated Rolling’s written confession to the Grissom Murders - on the day of Rolling’s October 25, 2006 execution.
Local, regional and national news media ran stories about Rolling’s confession. CNN and the major news networks reported the story. The Atlanta television news media interviewed Hal and aired a story about it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a Sunday morning feature story about Hal orchestrating Rolling’s confession and Louisiana based national subscription SB Magazine published a cover story about it. SB’s “JUDGE NOT” edition quickly sold out, requiring a second printing that also sold out. Book and movie offers came in for his story, but Hal turned them down. He decided to write the book and screenplay himself so he could make any book or movie true to his true story and made completing them his top priority. Then his father had a stroke.
Hal put his book, screenplay, and Atlanta, GA law practice on hold for what he believed would be a few months to move back to Shreveport to be his father’s caregiver during his final months. But those few months stretched into over eight years primarily spent as his father’s caregiver and defending a relative in an Arkansas real estate lawsuit. After over seven years and three trips to the Arkansas Supreme Court, Hal won the hard-fought Arkansas case. Despite this win, because of the many years away from Atlanta, Hal’s Georgia law practice finally became just a memory. And, after over eight years as his father’s caregiver, his father passed from a second major stroke.
Hal still lives in Shreveport. He is determined to turn something very bad into something good and prove that his life has not been “ruined” by making this world a little better through sharing what he has learned from his journey following Julie, Tom, and Sean’s murders. ABC's KTBS News recently ran a two-part "Rebuilding a Life" story on Hal's journey to turn something bad into something good. Today Hal is finally pursuing his passion - completing his WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES book and screenplay and launching his “WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES, Become the Best You Can Be” health and wellness inspirational speaking career.
Hal is following his heart, working to accomplish something that may have never been done before by one person: write a bestselling memoir, write the screenplay for it that becomes an Oscar-nominated Best Picture, and become a popular health and wellness inspirational speaker about how to physically, mentally and spiritually overcome and grow from life’s challenges, become the best you can be and live a long, healthy, happy life.