D.C. Man Is Charged With Two Homicides

By Debbie Wilgoren and Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 31, 2009

An 18-year-old District man who pleaded guilty as a juvenile in a 2006 homicide has been charged with second-degree murder in two more homicides, according to police and a D.C. Council member. One of the dead was a Columbia Heights teen and the other was an aspiring young artist.

Lafonte Lurie Carlton of Northwest Washington was charged with killing Derrell Goins, 21, an art student who was shot Dec. 10 in an alley behind the 2200 block of Champlain Street NW. Carlton was also charged with fatally shooting Paul Dominique Jones, 17, Jan. 9 behind a building in the 1300 block of Columbia Road NW.

Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), whose district includes the area where Goins died, said yesterday that Carlton pleaded guilty as a juvenile in the Aug. 9, 2006, fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man at 14th and Girard streets. Court proceedings involving juveniles are confidential, and the records are not public. A news report at the time said only that the unidentified 15-year-old suspect had been seen arguing with the victim.

But Graham said Carlton was placed in the custody of the D.C. Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services and sent to the city's Oak Hill juvenile detention center in Laurel. Graham said according to "D.C. government records" Carlton was released last fall. Graham said that at the time the 22-year-old victim was shot, police had a warrant for Carlton's arrest on a robbery charge.

"Judging from his record, and what [the police department] tells me, he should have been kept behind bars," Graham said in a statement. "At least two people might have been alive today."

DYRS has pushed in recent years to lock up fewer youths and instead surround them with counselors, drug rehabilitation and social workers at their homes. The effort has drawn complaints, because under director Vincent Schiraldi, an average of six youths under his care are killed in street violence each year, about the same as before he arrived, and others continue to commit crimes.

The alleged motive for Jones's slaying was unclear yesterday. But police and neighborhood activists said that Goins was targeted by mistake as part of a violent dispute between rival neighborhoods. Friends said he was a talented artist who held down two jobs while taking art classes.

Carlton was jailed last night pending a preliminary hearing in D.C. Superior Court.

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