Opening statements in trial of five charged in D.C. killings

Over eight days in March 2010, 14 people were shot. Five died. The shootings were linked by a common theme, District prosecutors said Tuesday: revenge.

During more than two hours of opening statements, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Brittin said the actions of five D.C. men charged in a series of shootings were fueled by retaliation.

"This case will be very much about the victims,” said Brittin Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court. “What happens when rules of law are ignored and individuals take the law into their own hands.”

The statements marked the start of proceedings in the trials of Orlando Carter, 22; his brother, Sanquan, 21; Jeffrey D. Best, 23; Robert Bost, 23; and Lamar Williams, 23. Each faces about 90 charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and assault and weapons charges.

If convicted, all five could face life in prison.

Listen to police dispatches from moments after the shooting:

During his statement, Brittin held up a gold-colored bracelet adorned in fake diamonds. The bracelet, authorities say, went missing at a party, infuriating its owner Sanquan Carter. Hours later, the Carter brothers and Best opened fire at people outside the party. That gunfire killed Jordan Howe and injured two.

But none of the people hit had the bracelet, Brittin said: It was with a woman Sanquan Carter escorted out of the party. The shootings, Brittin said, were over a "cheap piece of costume jewelry."

That shooting led to several other incidents, culminating in a drive-by that killed several people who had attended Howe’s funeral.

One of the survivors of that shooting, 19-year-old Ra’Shauna Brown, was best friends with Brishell Jones, who was killed in the final shooting. Now a college student, she spoke with The Post recently about her memories of that day.


View Photo Gallery: Murder charges have been filed against five men after the March 30 shootings that represented one of the District's deadliest street crimes in years.

Read more: The Post’s crime coverage

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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