Skip to content

Why Did Bobbie Jean Carter Go to Prison?


Bobbie Jean Carter is an American woman who was convicted in 2006 for aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder. Her conviction stemmed from an incident in which she shot a romantic rival, Adrienne O’Neal, multiple times at point-blank range. The brutal attack was caught on video and made national headlines at the time. Carter’s 30-year prison sentence shed light on issues of domestic violence, love triangles gone wrong, and the extreme lengths some will go to in crimes of passion.

Background on Bobbie Jean Carter

Bobbie Jean Carter was born in 1976 in Memphis, Tennessee. She had a turbulent upbringing, marked by physical abuse from her stepfather. As a teenager, she became involved with 29-year-old Mark Key, though the full nature of their relationship is unclear. Key was controlling and manipulative towards Carter. Nonetheless, she grew dependent on him emotionally and financially.

In her 20s, Carter began studying nursing and became an LPN. She was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Key throughout her adult years. This volatile relationship would ultimately culminate in the fateful shooting.

Details of the Crime

In May 2006, Bobbie Jean Carter committed the brutal crime that would land her behind bars. Adrienne O’Neal, a medical assistant at the Dermatology Clinic of Memphis, was rumored to be having an affair with Mark Key.

See also  How Long Was John Stonehouse in Prison? Examining the Fallout From His Faked Death

On May 17, Carter visited the clinic and asked to speak with O’Neal in an exam room. When O’Neal entered, Carter pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots at point-blank range while O’Neal pleaded for her life. O’Neal was shot five times but miraculously survived.

The entire incident was caught on the clinic’s security cameras, leaving no doubt as to Carter’s guilt.

Aftermath of the Shooting

O’Neal was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Meanwhile, Carter fled the scene but soon turned herself in to the police and confessed.

When questioned why she shot the victim, Carter told police “she was tired of being disrespected.” She said O’Neal had been sleeping with Carter’s abusive on-again, off-again boyfriend, Mark Key.

In the aftermath, O’Neal courageously forgave Carter during a face-to-face jailhouse meeting arranged by O’Neal’s pastor. The shooting victim even testified on Carter’s behalf at her sentencing.

Trial, Conviction and Imprisonment

Bobbie Jean Carter was charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Key was also arrested for his role in instigating the crime.

In October 2006, Carter pleaded no contest to the charges. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Now 51 years old, Carter remains incarcerated at the Tennessee Prison for Women. She will be eligible for parole in 2029.

Insights into Why Carter Committed Her Crime

Carter’s shooting of her romantic rival shocked many. But psychologists say several factors likely contributed to her violent breaking point:

History of domestic abuse

Carter’s abusive upbringing and controlling relationship with Key created a pattern of violence that exploded with the clinic shooting.

See also  How Much Prison Time Is Trump Facing? Examining the Former President's Legal Troubles

Romantic jealousy

The perceived affair between O’Neal and Key ignited a jealous rage and desire for revenge in Carter.

Fear of abandonment

After years as the victim of manipulation by Key, Carter felt threatened by the potential loss of her abuser’s attention and financial support.

Poor impulse control

Carter acted rashly in the heat of passion, without considering the consequences of violence. Her crime seemed fueled by emotion rather than logic.


Bobbie Jean Carter’s brutal attack on her romantic rival shocked the Memphis community. While the factors that led to her violent outburst help explain her actions, they cannot justify the horrific crime. Carter’s 30-year prison sentence reflects society’s condemnation of domestic violence and demonstrates the high price individuals pay when crimes of passion turn nearly deadly.

Key Points:

  • In 2006, Bobbie Jean Carter shot Adrienne O’Neal 5 times at point-blank range out of romantic jealousy
  • Carter’s history of domestic abuse and manipulative relationship contributed to her crime
  • She was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder
  • Video evidence and Carter’s confession ensured her conviction
  • Psychologists say domestic violence, jealousy, abandonment fears, and poor impulse control led to the attack

Imran Khan

Share this post on social

About us

We are dedicated to exploring the intricacies of prison life and justice reform through firsthand experiences and expert insights.

See also  Why Did Kim Delaney Go to Prison?

Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

See also  Where is HMP Woodhill? Exploring the Notorious Prison's History and Status