Jury selection set in case of 2002 homicides

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week in Faulkner County Circuit Court for the trial of a man accused in the 2002 murders of two men at a home in Conway.

Richard Conte, 63, is charged with two counts of capital murder in the execution-style shootings of Carter Elliott, 49, and Timothy Wayne Robertson, 25.

Both men were shot in the head and were discovered in a home in the Shady Valley subdivision in west Conway on May 19, 2002.

Elliott owned industrial solvent manufacturer Detco and was a mentor to Robertson. The pair were working together to build a deck for Elliott’s home when they were killed on or about May 18, 2002.

Conte was charged in 2011, days before he was released from a Nevada jail where he served nine years of a 15-year sentence for kidnapping his ex-wife, Lark Gathright-Elliott, about a month after the murders. Gathright-Elliott was also the ex-wife of Carter Elliott.

According to investigators, Conte drove to Salt Lake City, drugged her and placed her and her clothing in the back of his truck. He took her to his Clear Creek home in Douglas County, Nev., where she was found and freed two days after being kidnapped.

In 2002, investigators stated that Conte was not arrested at the time of the murders because evidence against him was circumstantial.

Among evidence that was found to link Conte to the murders were copies of downloaded Conway maps and the scanner frequencies for local police agencies, found on his computer.

Conte, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was moved from Faulkner County jail in late October on his own recognizance and to his mother’s care in her Wisconsin home, where he is required to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Jack Lassiter, defense attorney for Conte, previously asserted that a key eyewitness who placed Conte at a cabin near Duck Creek, Utah on the weekend of the incident died in 2008.

Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday. The trial is set for Jan. 15 and is expected to last through the end of the week.

(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 505-1277 or by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net. Follow us on Twitter @LCDonline.)

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