Photo by PoPville flickr user KJinDC
Five men were sentenced today to prison terms for murder, conspiracy, and other charges stemming from a series of violent crimes that culminated on the night of March 30, 2010 with a deadly mass shooting on South Capitol Street, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
The defendants, all from Washington, D.C., include: Sanquan Carter, 21, also known as “Bootsie;” his brother, Orlando Carter, 22, also known as “Lando” or “Dough;” Jeffrey D. Best, 23, also known as “Dro,” “Little Dro,” or “J.B.;” Robert Bost, 23, also known as “Little Rob” or “Chuck,” and Lamar J. Williams, 24, also known as “Neph” or Nephew.”
The defendants were convicted by a jury on May 7, 2012, following a 2 ½-month trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. More than 100 witnesses testified during the trial, and the government introduced more than 1,000 exhibits. The Honorable Ronna L. Beck sentenced them today after a hearing in which numerous family members of the murder victims, and some of the surviving victims, described in detail the tragic consequences of the defendants’ actions. The Court also received 26 victim impact statements prior to the sentencing.
In a day-long sentencing proceeding, Judge Beck declared that the “evidence was overwhelming” to support the verdicts. She sentenced three defendants – Orlando Carter, Jeffrey Best and Robert Bost – to life prison terms with no possibility of release. She sentenced Sanquan Carter to 54 years in prison, and she sentenced Lamar Williams to 30 years of incarceration.
All five of the defendants have been in custody since their arrests in 2010.
The trial focused on a series of violent incidents that occurred within just eight days: the Monday, March 22, 2010 murder of Jordan Howe, and the shooting of two other individuals in the 1300 block of Alabama Avenue SE; the Tuesday, March 23, 2010 shooting of defendant Orlando Carter in the area of 6th and Chesapeake Streets SE, and the four murders and other shootings that occurred on Tuesday, March 30, 2010, including the drive-by attack on South Capitol Street.
All told, the violence included five murders and nine shootings that did not result in death. In addition to Mr. Howe, 20, the murder victims included Tavon Nelson, 17; Brishell Jones, 16; Davaughn Boyd, 18 and William Jones, 19. Eight other people, all in their teens or 20s, were shot, and the bullets missed another teenager by mere inches.
“The violence unleashed by these defendants is unconscionable, culminating in one of the worst mass shootings in our city’s history,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Five young lives were lost and many others were forever shattered by these senseless attacks that shocked our community. All of the victims, in their teens and twenties, were defenseless when ambushed by the defendants. Now these defendants will grow old behind bars for these vicious crimes that robbed mothers and fathers of their children.”
“We will never forget that horrific night and the loss each family suffered,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. “Hopefully, each day these defendants spend in prison will be spent thinking about the pain and carnage they inflicted on this community.”
According to the government’s evidence, the events began late March 21, 2010, when, after having sex with a 15-year-old girl, Sanquan Carter discovered that a gold-colored bracelet he had been wearing that evening was missing. Enraged, he called his brother, and he, Orlando Carter, Best, Williams, and Nathaniel Simms, 28, conspired to assault and kill people mistakenly believed to have stolen the bracelet. Orlando Carter secured firearms from Williams, and he, Best and Simms set out to meet Sanquan Carter in the 1300 block of Alabama Avenue.
At about 12:30 a.m. on March 22, 2010, both Carters and Best opened fire on a group of people gathered there, using an AK-47, a pump-action shotgun and a pistol. Mr. Howe was killed and two other young men, then 15 and 22, were wounded.
Evidence showed that 33 shots were fired in the attack on Alabama Avenue, including 28 from the AK-47. Additionally, three unfired 12-gauge shotgun shells were ejected as Best attempted to fire the pump-action shotgun.
Sanquan Carter was arrested and detained on March 23, 2010. He was not charged with any of the crimes that followed.
According to evidence presented during the trial, the killing of Mr. Howe led Mr. Howe’s associates to carry out the retaliatory shooting of Orlando Carter at about 6 p.m. March 23, 2010, in the area of 6th and Chesapeake Streets SE. One shot hit Orlando Carter in the shoulder and the other grazed his head. Orlando Carter was hospitalized but soon released, and, according to the government’s evidence, he immediately began planning to exact revenge.
For several days, the government’s evidence showed, Orlando Carter sought information about Mr. Howe’s funeral, with plans to attack those in attendance. Eventually, on Sunday, March 28, 2010, Orlando Carter got a three-word text message: “Funeral on Tuesday.”
Orlando Carter initially planned for he and his co-conspirators to appear at the March 30, 2010 funeral service for Mr. Howe and to shoot and kill as many friends and associates of Mr. Howe as they could. Plans did not materialize as expected because it took longer than anticipated to secure the rental of a minivan that would be used in the drive-by attack. Even though they missed the funeral, the defendants still moved forward with their violent agenda.
The first shooting on the night of March 30 took place at about 7:20 in the unit block of Galveston Street SW. According to the government’s evidence, Mr. Nelson was shot in an attempted robbery aimed at stealing a gun he was known to carry.
About five minutes after those shots rang out, Orlando Carter, Best, Bost and Simms headed to South Capitol Street, where they came upon a group of young people mourning the loss of Mr. Howe. Several were wearing shirts memorializing Mr. Howe. Orlando Carter drove by that location, made a U Turn, and then, wearing ninja-style masks, the men returned to the scene. As the minivan approached the crowd, Orlando Carter electronically lowered the windows of the minivan. He brought the vehicle to a complete stop as Best, Bost and Simms opened fire.
The gunfire led to the deaths of Ms. Jones, Mr. Boyd, and Mr. Jones, the injuries of six others, and the near-miss on a teenage girl.
Continues after the jump.
During the trial, the government presented evidence about two conspiracies: one involving the events of March 21 and March 22, 2010, and the other involving the events from March 23 through March 30, 2010.
Simms pled guilty in April 2010 to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and five counts of second-degree murder while armed. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 19, 2012. Sanquan Carter was convicted of 15 felony charges involving events of March 21 and March 22, 2010, including conspiracy to commit murder, the premeditated murder of Mr. Howe, two counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and other offenses.
Orlando Carter was convicted of 50 counts involving events from March 21 through March 30, 2010, including two counts of conspiracy, five counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed in the deaths of Mr. Howe, Mr. Nelson, Ms. Jones, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Jones, nine counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and other offenses.
Jeffrey Best was convicted of 47 counts involving events from March 21 through March 30, 2010, including two counts of conspiracy, five counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed in the deaths of Mr. Howe, Mr. Nelson, Ms. Jones, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Jones, nine counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and other offenses.
Robert Bost was convicted of 34 counts involving events from March 23 through March 30, 2010, including one count of conspiracy, four counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed in the deaths of Mr. Nelson, Ms. Jones, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Jones, seven counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and other offenses.
Lamar Williams was convicted of 28 charges involving events from March 23 through March 30, 2010, including one count of conspiracy, three counts of second-degree murder while armed, seven counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and other offenses.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier thanked all of those who worked on the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and MPD were assisted by numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the State’s Attorney’s Office for Montgomery County, Maryland. Assistance also was provided by Bruce Budowle, PhD, executive director of the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Institute of Investigative Genetics.
They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Mary McCord, Acting Chief of the Criminal Division, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Jackson, John Gidez, Christopher Kavanaugh, Trena Carrington, and Crystal Evans; Victim/Witness Specialists Marcia Rinker, Jennifer Clark, and Michael Hailey; Paralegals Kwasi Fields, Wanda Queen, Delissa Rivers, Meredith McGarrity, Kelly Blakeney, Deborah Joyner, Mary Treanor, Margaret McCabe and Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie; Legal Assistant Angela Lawrence; Litigation Technology Specialists Joe Calvarese and Leif Hickling, and Criminal Investigator Durand Odom.
Finally, they commended the work of those who have worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Brittin, Bruce R. Hegyi and Adam B. Schwartz, who prosecuted the case.