A D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced 18-year-old Gary Winston Jaggers yesterday to a minimum of 62 years in prison for the 1980 murders of two elderly residents of Oakwood Street in Southeast Washington and the robbing and beating of a third.
Jaggers, of 245 Burgess Ave. in Alexandria, had been charged in a series of crimes in November and December 1980 that terrorized elderly residents in the usually tranquil Congress Heights neighborhood just south of St. Elizabeths Hospital.
Before his arrest in January 1981, some residents were so shocked that they considered moving. Others had installed additional locks, were keeping to themselves and had become wary of strangers.
Jaggers was indicted on 49 criminal charges in connection with 10 separate incidents in the area, including four slayings. He stood trial last fall on three murder charges and the robbery of a fourth person. He was convicted Nov. 9 of two of the murders and the robbery.
Judge Annice Wagner, who called the crimes "heinous," rejected a request yesterday by defense attorney Randy Bellows that Jaggers be sentenced as a juvenile, which would allow him to be paroled at any time. At the time he committed the crimes, Jaggers was an escapee from the Cedar Knoll, the city's juvenile detention facility.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bowman urged Wagner to ensure that Jaggers "never again will be free to stalk the streets of the District of Columbia looking for a new home to burglarize, a new victim to rob or an innocent citizen to beat or kill."
Wagner said Jaggers "showed no remorse" for having committed the crimes. Jaggers, who declined to speak on his own behalf at the sentencing hearing, sat impassively throughout the proceeding, much as he had done during his two-week trial.
Wagner sentenced Jaggers to serve consecutive terms of 20 years to life in the murder of 65-year-old Julia Gambill on Dec. 12, 1980, and the killing four days later of 88-year-old Burwell M. Davis. Wagner sentenced Jaggers to serve an additional term of seven to 21 years for burglarizing Davis' home and another 15 years to life for the armed burglary of the home of John Nelson, 80.
Jaggers, who will not become eligible for parole until the year 2053, still faces trial on another murder charge and a series of charges involving armed robbery, rape and burglary of residents and homes in the neighborhood.