Cleared of murder, sentenced in carjack

November 21, 2008|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,

A 21-year-old Northeast Baltimore man recently cleared on murder charges was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison for an armed carjacking in 2006.

Prosecutors said that Dean Carter and a female companion requested a ride from the victim Nov. 2, 2006, and then produced a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle, demanding that the victim get out of the car. Carter was arrested the next day after being seen driving the stolen vehicle. The rifle was still on the floor.

Prosecutor Kevin Wiggins told Baltimore Circuit Judge W. Michel Pierson that police were able to make an arrest after the victim identified his attacker. Wiggins said that Carter had a lot of arrests and few convictions, but he also had wasted numerous opportunities to reform himself.

Pierson said those few convictions were enough to prove an escalating pattern of violence - from a juvenile conviction for carrying a deadly weapon on school property at age 17 to an adult conviction for stealing a car.

"It's now escalated to taking a car with a weapon," Pierson said.

Last month, a jury acquitted Carter, of the 3000 block of Kentucky Ave., on murder charges. Carter was accused of killing Arnilo Handy, 30, a worker at a cement factory, in a case that was riddled with inconsistencies in witness statements and other problems.

Defense attorney Linwood Hedgepeth said that a woman testified that she heard a knock on the front door about 1 a.m. Oct. 28, 2006. When she opened the door, two men with masks covering the bottom half of their faces barged in - one carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. The one who wasn't carrying the shotgun ran straight upstairs and shot Handy in his bed.

The woman and the victim's brother-in-law testified that they identified Carter as the shooter based on their memories of his eyes. The woman said she recognized Carter's eyes because he hung out with a drug dealer who lived next door.

But Hedgepeth said detectives never found or interviewed that drug dealer. Meanwhile, gunshot reside was found on the hands of the victim's brother and brother-in-law, who were in the house on Tivoly Avenue.

"The [victim's] family's concern was why she opened the door at 1 a.m. to people with masks over their faces," Hedgepeth said. "Well, then she said there was a third person involved who didn't have a face mask. She was trying to have it all sorts of ways."

Pierson said yesterday that he did not consider the murder charges when issuing the sentence in the carjacking case.

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