Three men will spend the rest of their lives in prison for the deadly gun violence that started over a piece of costume jewelry and culminated in one of the worst mass shootings in the District's history.
Orlando Carter, 22, Jeffrey D. Best, 23, and Robert Bost, 23, were sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of five young people and the wounding of nine over eight days in the spring of 2010.
Sanquan Carter, 21, who triggered the violence but was in custody during the bloody attacks on South Capitol Street Southeast, received 54 years. Lamar Williams, 24, received 30 years for providing weapons used in the attacks.
|A cycle of violence|
|March 21, 2010: Sanquan Carter, then 19, mistakenly blames Jordan Howe, 20, for a missing piece of costume jewelry.|
|Carter calls his brother, Orlando, and he and Jeffrey Best secure weapons from Lamar Williams.|
|March 22: The crew kills Howe, 20, and wounds two others.|
|March 23: Police arrest Sanquan Carter. Howe's associates retaliate against Orlando Carter, shooting him in the shoulder and grazing his face.|
|March 30: At 7:20 p.m., Best, Orlando Carter and Robert Bost rob and kill Tavon Nelson, 17, near South Capitol Street Southeast.|
|Five minutes later, Carter, Best and Bost put on ninja-style masks and pull up to the group mourning Howe's death. Carter lowers the van's windows while Best and Bost spray the crowd with bullets. Killed are Brishell Jones, 16, Davaughn Boyd, 18, and William Jones III, 19. Six others are wounded.|
Family members of the victims seemed relieved by the sentences.
"Three got what they deserved," said Shelly Proctor, mother of slain shooting victim 19-year-old William Jones III. The other two will be old men when they get out, she said.
Before the sentencings, nearly 30 victims and family members described the pain and loss they've felt since the attacks.
Tavon Lambert, who was shot five times during the first shooting, choked up as he began to speak. He said he was struggling to find forgiveness for the men who killed his friend, 20-year-old Jordan Howe.
"I don't want to keep this burden in my heart," he said. "I don't want to keep fighting y'all in my dreams anymore."
Howe's father, Norman Williams, said he is no longer religious because of the death of his son.
"But I ask God to let me live long enough to see that every one of these cowards suffers 1,000 deaths," Williams said.
Nardyne Jeffries, mother of 16-year-old Brishell Jones, said she will no longer be able to enjoy movie nights, nail salon visits and motorcycle trips with her only child.
Jeffries said she battles bouts of remorse for buying a house in the neighborhood where Brishell was killed.
"I shouldn't have to feel guilty for trying to have the American Dream," Jeffries said.
She scolded the defendants for showing disrespectful body language during the trial, rolling their eyes, smirking and blowing kisses to the mother of one of the victims.
She pleaded for the judge to put the men behind bars for life.
"Please stop using the court system as a revolving door," she said. "You can't rehabilitate serial killers."
When it came time for the defendants to address the court, three briefly thanked their families and supporters, but they did not address the charges against them.
Lamar Willliams offered his condolences to the families and victims.
"This is a great misfortune," he said.
The violence began March 22, 2010, with the shooting death of Howe and the wounding of two other people over a shiny bracelet that Sanquan Carter said was stolen from him.