Allen J. Anderson, who recently turned 20 in jail after being convicted for killing 19-year-old Justin M. Carter last year during a botched robbery, found out Friday that he will spend the next half of his life in prison.
After hearing emotional testimony from Carter’s mother and sister, Fairfax County Circuit Judge Arthur Vieregg followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Anderson to serve the minimum sentence for first degree murder — 20 years in prison.
“My heart, my heart, my heart,” said a weeping Debbie O’Brien, Carter’s mother. “I don’t want no parent to sit in this chair.”
Anderson, who was convicted Aug. 30, was arrested Nov. 23, 2005, just hours after Carter was found dead, shot near a bench on a wooded pathway behind Winterthur Apartments.
At the sentencing, Anderson apologized for the Carter’s death, saying it was an accident. “I’m sorry, but what happened was an accident, so I don’t fully blame myself,” said Anderson, who was a senior at South Lakes High School at the time of the shooting.
Vieregg was not convinced. “It was suggested that this was an accident,” he said. “This court doesn’t believe that for a second. It’s clear you intentionally shot Justin Carter.”
ACCORDING TO testimony during the trial, Anderson and three juvenile accomplices intended to buy marijuana from Carter. Police testified the intent was to rob Carter, who lived in Reston.
The day before, Nov. 22, 2005, the four friends — Carter, Marquis Brown, 17, Tony Fitts, 17, and Jose Green — had talked about robbing Carter, but later reconsidered.
The next day, though, Brown called Carter to buy the marijuana. Anderson maintained during the trial that he didn’t know it was going to be a robbery.
But on the day of the incident, the four friends showed up on the pathway with a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol.
Anderson admitted that he bought the gun a month earlier for $300 in Queens, N.Y., where he’s from originally, and then sold it to Fitts for $200 sometime in November 2005.
When the drug deal started around 1:30 p.m., Tony Fitts gave Carter $60 for the drugs, but it wasn’t enough.
ANDERSON TESTIFIED that Fitts passed him the gun, which he held pointed downward to his side. He said Carter saw the gun and realized he was being robbed.
“He pushed Tony [Fitts] out of the way and he came for me,” said Anderson in a taped interview on Nov. 24, 2005.
On the stand, Anderson testified that he and Carter struggled for the gun. “He pushed Tony [Fitts] out of the way and started wrestling with me for the gun,” said Anderson. “I’m trying to move away from him and that’s when we got close and that’s when the gun went off … I know for a fact, I didn’t pull the trigger.”
The prosecution convinced the jury that the murder occurred during the commission of a robbery, which demands a first degree murder conviction.
Anderson’s attorney, Kelly Dennis, said he has “no idea” whether he’ll file an appeal in the case.