In 1966, police arrested both Carter and friend John Artis for a triple-homicide committed in the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey. Police stopped Carter’s car and brought him and Artis, also in the car, to the scene of the crime. On searching the car, the police found ammunition that fit the weapons used in the murder.  Police took no fingerprints at the crime scene and lacked the facilities to conduct a paraffin test for gunshot residue. Carter and Artis were tried and convicted twice (1967 and 1976) for the murders, but after the second conviction was overturned in 1985, prosecutors chose not to try the case for a third time.
Carter’s autobiography, titled The Sixteenth Round, was published in 1975 by Warner Books. The story inspired the 1975 Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” and the 1999 film The Hurricane (with Denzel Washington playing Carter). From 1993 to 2005, Carter served as executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.