WASHINGTON (AP) — A jury on Monday convicted five men in one of the deadliest series of shootings in Washington in years, a spate of violence in 2010 that left five people dead.
Three of the dead were teenagers killed in a drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street. The jury in the case deliberated for more than a week before finding all five co-defendants guilty of a total of more than 170 charges. Four men were found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges, and one was found guilty of second-degree murder and other offenses.
Charged in the violence were brothers Sanquan Carter, 21, and Orlando Carter, 22, as well as 23-year-olds Jeffrey Best, Robert Bost and Lamar Williams. Williams was found guilty of second-degree murder. One man, Nathaniel Simms, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the shootings and testified against the others.
"It's no secret this is something that from the night this happened I've said is one of the worst things I've seen in 22 years here in this city and hope to never ever have to see anything like that again," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference following the guilty verdicts.
Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, whose office prosecuted the case, said his office would seek to put all the men behind bars for the rest of their lives when they are sentenced Sept. 11.
More than 100 witnesses testified during the trial, which began in late February and didn't end until late April, and attorneys introduced more than 1,000 pieces of evidence.
According to evidence introduced by prosecutors, the violence began in March 2010, when Sanquan Carter attended a gathering at a Southeast Washington home. He called his brother after he couldn't find a cheap bracelet, encrusted with fake diamonds, that he'd worn and believed had been stolen.
Orlando Carter arrived at the home with Simms and Best. The men were carrying guns, and a shooting ensued during which one person, 20-year-old Jordan Howe, died. Howe's friends retaliated a day later by shooting Orlando Carter, but he survived.
Orlando Carter vowed revenge and conceived of a plan to kill mourners at Howe's funeral. Carter and his conspirators missed the funeral on March 30, but the group, which included Best, Bost and Simms, tracked down some of the mourners that night to a gathering on South Capitol Street and fired on them from a rented minivan. The group was also accused of killing another man that day in an attempt to take his gun. Williams was said to have provided guns used in the shootings.
Defense attorneys sought to cast doubt on the accounts of witnesses who testified at trial and pointed to problems with the investigation in the case. Sanquan Carter's attorney argued his client had shot in self-defense. And attorneys for Best and Bost said there was no physical evidence linking their clients to the crimes.