Last Friday morning an Alexandria jury found Sebastian Carter, 22, guilty of murder in the first degree and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. For that they recommended a sentence of 45 years on the murder conviction and the mandatory three years on the firearms charge, a total sentence of 48 years. Formal sentencing will take place August 3, according to Commonwealth Attorney Randolph S. Sengel.
Carter had been on trial for the murder and attempted robbery of 22-year-old Alexandria native Lawrence Sims on Dec. 27, 2005 in the 800 block of Montgomery Street. He died in the side yard of St. John's Baptist Church as a result of "multiple gunshot wounds."
Two other charges against Carter, attempted robbery and a second firearms charge during an attempted felony resulted in a hung jury and the declaration of a mistrial by Circuit Court Judge John Kloch, according to Sengel. "Anytime there is a mistrial the government has the right to a retrial. But, given the verdict on the other counts it is doubtful we will seek a retrial," Sengel said.
Trial testimony indicated the two men had "an ongoing dispute." A few days after the shooting, Carter was arrested for stalking Sims’ girlfriend. During the two-day trial, prosecutors presented several witnesses who testified that Carter admitted the crime.
Although a native Alexandrian, Sims grew up in the District of Columbia and was a 2000 graduate of Coolidge High School. He attended Strayer University studying computers and worked for the U.S. Department of Defense from May 2003 to January 2005.