Jurors today found five young men guilty in the South Capitol Street shootings more than two years after the killings and nearly two weeks of jury deliberations.
Orlando Carter, 22, and Jeffrey Best, 23, were convicted on five counts of first-degree murder, as well as charges of assault, conspiracy, gun possession and destruction of property.
Robert Bost, 23, was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder, while Sanquan Carter, 21, was convicted of one count.
Lamar Williams, 23, was found guilty of multiple counts of second-degree murder, as well as gun possession and conspiracy charges.
Writes the Washington Post:
“As the jury foreman listed more than 200 guilty verdicts in a loud baritone, Best smiled and shook his head. Sanquan Carter tugged at his necktie. At one point, Best and Bost whispered to each other and smiled. Williams remained silent and looked straight ahead.”
Five people under the age of 21 were shot and killed over eight days in March 2010: Jordan Howe, 20; Brishell Jones, 16; DaVaughn Boyd, 18; William Jones III, 19; Tavon Nelson, 17.
The prosecution’s case centered on the testimony of Nathaniel Simms, who described how he pointed an AK-47-style assault rifle at a group of people, many of whom had attended Howe’s funeral earlier that day. Simms pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree murder in April 2010 and agreed to testify against the five defendants.
For a look back at the shootings and key moments in the case, see the interactive Storify, and the press release from the US Attorney’s Office, below. This will take a moment to load.
From the US Attorney’s Office:
Five Men Convicted of Charges for Their Roles In Crimes That Led to Five Murders, Nine Other Shootings Verdict Followed 2 ½-Month Trial Covering Series of Crimes That Ended With Mass Shootings on South Capitol Street
WASHINGTON – Five men were convicted by a jury today of murder, conspiracy, and other charges for a series of violent crimes that culminated on the night of March 30, 2010 with a deadly mass shooting on South Capitol Street, 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, 23, also known as “Neph” or Nephew.”
The verdicts were returned following a 2 ½-month trial and more than a week of deliberations 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 scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11, 2012. Sanquan Carter and Lamar Williams could be sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. Orlando Carter, Best and Bost face maximum sentences of life in prison with no possibility of release.
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.
“Just over two years ago, the defendants in this case unleashed a series of senseless attacks that ultimately ended five young lives,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “One young man was killed over a bracelet. Another was killed in an attempted robbery. And then three more of our young people were killed, and six more were wounded, in one of the largest mass shootings in our city’s history. The victims who were shot in that attack on South Capitol Street were targeted for doing nothing more than mourning the loss of a murdered friend. I can only hope that today’s guilty verdicts bring some measure of comfort and peace to the grieving parents who lost their loved ones in these heinous crimes. Today’s verdicts are a testament to the strength and resilience of our community and a warning to those who wish to take the law into their own hands – ‘you will forfeit your freedom by engaging in needless acts of violence.’”
“This horrendous crime left an indelible imprint on our communities,” said Chief Lanier. “I witnessed firsthand the aftermath of that night and the inconceivable agony on the faces of the victims’ loved ones. The criminals who committed these horrible acts had no regard for life and they must pay for what they have done.”
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.
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 awaiting sentencing.
Sanquan Carter was convicted of 15 charges involving events of March 21 and March 22, 2010, including one count of conspiracy, one count of first-degree premeditated murder while armed 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. The jury acquitted Williams of a second charge of conspiracy, the murder of Mr. Howe, and related charges stemming from the events of March 21 and March 22.
In announcing the verdicts, 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.
Mr. Machen and Chief Lanier expressed special appreciation to the following individuals, whose efforts were instrumental in securing justice in this case:
MPD Major Case Squad: Det. Sgt. James C. Young and Detectives Oliver Garvey, Susan Blue-Stanton (retired), Mitchell Credle, Jeffery Mayberry, Jeffrey Owens, Darryl Richmond, and Eduardo Voysest.
MPD Violent Crime Detectives – Squad #3: Detectives Anthony Patterson, Sean Caine, Anthony Paci, and Michael Fulton.
MPD Seventh District: Officers Luke Foskett, Nefetia Turner, Christopher Dyke, Jeremy Bank, Daniel Egbert, and Brian Brown.
Other MPD Officers: Detectives Steve Manley (Narcotics and Special Investigations Divison), Canine Officer Kelvin Dyson, and Officer Thomas Crabb (Special Operations Division – Air Support Unit).
MPD Evidence Technicians: Technicians Curtis Lancaster, Julius D. Smith, Ralph Nitz, and Tina Ramadhan.
ATF: Rich Marianos, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division, Pete Muldoon, Group Supervisor, Special Agent Shannon Day-Hill, Special Agent Willette Linton, and Special Agent Alex Schmidt.
DEA: Peter Kim, Supervisor of Group 32, and Special Agent Steve Aziz, along with MPD members Investigator Mike Iannacchione, Sgt. J.J. Brennan, and Albert Sabir.
U.S. Secret Service: Alice C. Thomas, Imaging and Audio Specialist.
U.S. Marshals Service Warrant Squad (Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force): Sgt. George (“Butch”) Darley, Detective Jack Reese, and Deputy U.S. Marshals James Cyphers, Avon Jackson, Kevin Smith, and Willard King.
U.S. Marshals Service - Courtroom Deputies: Deputy in Charge Christopher Perez, Assistant Deputy in Charge Ryan Godec, Deputies Chad Boyce, Michael Six, Aaron Decicco, Thomas Faherty, and Jeffrey Burke.
Washington/Baltimore HIDTA: Intelligence Analyst Zachary McMenamin.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office: John J. McCarthy, State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, and Deputy State’s Attorneys Mary Herdman and Sherri Koch.
U.S. Attorney’s Office: Roy McLeese III, Chief of the Appellate Division; Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Mary McCord, Acting Chief of the Criminal Divison, 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, Litigation Technology Specialists Joe Calvarese and Leif Hickling, and Criminal Investigator Durand Odom.
Finally, they commended the efforts 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.