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Posted at 06:25 PM ET, 04/19/2012

Final arguments start in string of fatal D.C. shootings

Closing arguments began Thursday in the long-running D.C. Superior Court trial of five men charged in a string of fatal shootings in the District in 2010, including a drive-by attack that left three people dead and six wounded on South Capitol Street SE.

Two months after jury selection began, and after testimony from more than 100 witnesses since then, lawyers in the case spent Thursday morning discussing jury instructions with Judge Ronna Lee Beck. Then, after lunch, Beck spent about an hour reading and explaining the complex instructions to the panel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Hegyi began his closing argument late in the afternoon by giving jurors a broad overview of the case that prosecutors have presented since February.

Hegyi is expected to deliver the bulk of his closing statement when the trial resumes Monday. Attorneys for the five defendants will then make their final arguments, followed by a rebuttal from the prosecution, before the panel begins deliberating.

The trial concerns a series of shootings and retaliatory mayhem that unfolded in Southeast Washington in late March 2010, one of the deadliest spates of violence in the city in decades. In all, 14 people were shot in little over a week, five of them fatally.

First, a man was shot and killed in a dispute over a missing bracelet at an apartment complex on Alabama Avenue. Later, a friend of that victim, seeking vengeance, shot and wounded one of the men who allegedly carried out the Alabama Avenue attack.

That second shooting prompted another round of retaliation in the form of a deadly March 30 drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street.

On trial are Orlando Carter, 22; his brother, Sanquan Carter, 21; and Jeffrey D. Best, Robert Bost and Lamar Williams, all 23. They are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy, assault, illegal firearms possession and other crimes.

By  |  06:25 PM ET, 04/19/2012

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