Detective describes rampage suspect's strange claims

Meridian police say Sean Carnell expressed remorse for all but one of the Aug. 21 attacks.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comNovember 1, 2013 

Sean Carnell


Sean Daniel Carnell told a police detective that four of the people he encountered during a series of attacks were sexual predators or child abusers.

Carnell, 23, even accused one of the victims of sexually molesting him, according to testimony by Detective Kevin Dixon of the Meridian Police Department during a preliminary hearing last week.

“There’s no evidence that any of that is true,” Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea of the Meridian Police Department said Wednesday.

Carnell is accused of injuring five people and a dog, setting a fire at his apartment, and throwing a rock through the window of a heavy equipment loader during nine incidents over a two-hour period.

Police initially believed that Carnell’s behavior was fueled by drug use, and said he told them that he consumed methamphetamine the night before. But Fafa Alidjani, the Ada County deputy prosecutor handling the case, said she doesn’t believe that explains the entirety of his actions.

According to Dixon’s testimony in court, Carnell said he went to Tully Park, 2500 N. Linder Road, and sat watching an older man and a teenage boy who weren’t together. Carnell then allegedly pummeled the 15-year-old boy in the face with both hands and stole his skateboard. The older man yelled at Carnell to stop his attack.

Nampa Fire Capt. Chris Cade, a Meridian resident, was riding his bicycle near the park. Carnell used the skateboard to strike Cade in the face, then kicked Cade after he fell face-first into the pavement, Dixon said.

“(Carnell) kind of chuckled and said, ‘I kicked him hard enough in the rump that I broke my toe,’ ” the detective said in court.

Cade spent five days in the hospital being treated for extensive facial injuries, a broken collarbone, a broken rib and a collapsed lung. He underwent four surgeries and might need two more, he testified.

While Carnell walked back to his apartment in the 1300 block of North 8th Street, he approached a 10-year-old boy and kicked the child’s dog, Dixon said.

Once there, Carnell trashed the place he shared with two roommates and set fire to his bedroom, according to the detective.

“He wanted to get rid of the bad things, the bad things in life,” Dixon said.


Outside, Dixon said, Carnell gave construction worker Michael Rice an “umpire punch,” the forward motion by a baseball or softball umpire to call a runner out.

Dixon said Carnell teared up when he talked about picking up a shovel and swinging it like a baseball bat at Rice’s head and back, striking him at least four times.

“He said he had never been so mad at anyone in his whole life,” Dixon said.

Rice suffered severe back and rib injuries and also spent five days in the hospital. He was off work for a month.

Even now, he said during the court hearing, he has trouble lifting things at work, loses track of items and at times can’t remember what he was doing.

His memory of the attack is hazy.

“It was lights out. I remember waking up in the ambulance,” he testified.

Next, Carnell went to the apartment of Ahna Smith, who lived in the same complex, police said.

Carnell allegedly grabbed Smith by the neck, but he denies this. He forced her down on a chair that broke, bent her arms back to near the “breaking point,” Smith said, and then punched her twice.

“He said the first one was a love tap, and then he decked her,” Dixon said.

Smith’s daughter struck Carnell and he stopped and retreated, and the girl’s boyfriend chased after him after he fled, according to police.


Smith said that two months earlier, she yelled at Carnell and his roommates for being “tweakers.” The apartment was a drug house, she said, and Smith reported her suspicions to police.

“He said he regrets everything he did that day, but that was the only one he didn’t regret,” Dixon said. “He has no remorse for that.”

When he left Smith’s apartment, Carnell reportedly took a Bible from her 2-year-old daughter. Trevor McMillan, a loader operator, said he saw a Bible fall from Carnell’s pocket as he hung on the rim of a basketball hoop.

Carnell saw McMillan watching him, grabbed a rock and asked him whether he had a problem, according to court testimony. He then threw the rock, shattering a window in the loader and nearly striking McMillan in the head, police say.

McMillan and some other workers got out and chased Carnell down the road before Meridian police arrived and apprehended him. But before they did, Carnell allegedly pushed a man in a wheelchair and tipped him over. That man was not called to testify.

Carnell faces a dozen charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — the shovel — and aggravated battery in the attack on Cade.

Defense attorneys did not present any evidence during the preliminary hearing.

Carnell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

John Sowell: 377-6423,Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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