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Justin Carter Shot to Death in Botched Robbery, Police Say

After hearing testimony from police that Allen Anderson of Lorton shot and killed a Reston teenager during a bungled robbery, Judge William J. Minor certified a first-degree murder charge against him to go to the grand jury.

Anderson, 19, of Lorton was arrested Nov. 23, just hours after Justin M. Carter, a 19-year-old Reston resident, died in Reston on a wooded pathway behind Winterthur Apartments.

About 10 of Carter’s family members and friends attended the hearing, including Carter’s mother and sister, who burst into tears as the hearing began. About 10 more people attended the hearing to support Anderson.

The incident occurred on Nov. 23, 2005 at 1:49 p.m. when Anderson, along with three accomplices, tried to rob Carter, said police at Anderson’s preliminary hearing in Fairfax County General District Court Tuesday, Feb. 21.

During questioning with police, Anderson admitted he and three accomplices had planned to buy marijuana from Carter to set up a robbery, according to testimony by Fairfax County Police Detective June Boyle.

On the day of the incident, an accomplice called Carter to buy a bag of marijuana, hoping to lure him into the woods for the robbery, said Boyle.

“Money was exchanged for the drugs,” said Boyle. “But then Carter noticed it wasn’t enough.”

Carter returned the money to one of the accomplices, who pretended to search for more money, according to Boyle’s testimony. Another accomplice pulled out a gun, cocked it and then handed it to Anderson so he could “frisk” Carter and take his belongings, said Boyle. At this time, Anderson was holding the gun “by his side,” said Boyle.

Boyle said that Carter then pushed the accomplice and went for the gun that Anderson was holding. “During the struggle, the gun went off,” said Boyle.

Boyle later testified that Anderson had bought the gun in New York for $300 and sold it to the accomplice who brought it to the robbery.

“But that was six months before this happened,” said Kelly R. Dennis, Anderson’s defense attorney.

Dennis argued that Anderson never intended to rob Carter. “Isn’t it true that [the accomplice with the gun] was going to rob him and that he was just enlisting these boys to come along?” Dennis asked Boyle.

But Boyle said Anderson knew the whole time it was a robbery.

“Allen Anderson wasn’t trying to rob anybody — that’s the tragedy,” said Dennis after the hearing. “If he hadn’t forgotten his wallet, he would have been at a Chipotle eating lunch.”

Anderson was a student at South Lakes High School. “As I understand, he was a solid B student, too,” Dennis said.

Carter, who grew up in Reston, had also attended South Lakes, but did not graduate.

The grand jury will hear the case in March, and the trial is set for later this year.