Timothy (Snot Rag) Catlett, one of the eight young men recently convicted of the savage murder of Catherine Fuller, was sentenced yesterday to a prison term of 35 years to life, the maximum, for his part in the October 1984 slaying of the 48-year-old Northeast mother of six.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert M. Scott, who presided over the month-long murder trial, sentenced Catlett to 20 years to life on a felony murder charge and 15 years to life on a kidnaping charge. The sentences will run consecutively.
Catlett is the first person convicted of Fuller's murder to be sentenced. Nine others -- seven who were convicted by a jury and two who pleaded guilty as a part of a plea arrangement -- are awaiting sentencing.
Later yesterday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg also sentenced Catlett to a five- to 15-year term on an unrelated armed robbery and assault charge in July 1983 for which Catlett had pleaded guilty and had been placed on probation. That probation was revoked by Weisberg yesterday as a result of Catlett's conviction in the Fuller case, prosecutors said.
The sentence imposed by Weisberg will run consecutively with the sentencing in the Fuller case, making Catlett ineligible for parole for at least 40 years, prosecutors said.
Before imposing sentence in the Fuller case, Scott asked Catlett if he wished to say anything, Catlett, emotionless, answered, "No." He stood stone-faced as Scott sentenced him.
Because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bars the imposition of two separate sentences for the same murder conviction, Catlett was not sentenced on an additional felony murder and armed robbery charge for which he had been found guilty.
The approximate one year that Catlett has already spent in jail will be counted toward his sentence.
Government prosecutor Jerry Goren described Catlett as "a clear danger to the community" and urged Scott to consider Catlett's participation in the killing of a "helpless individual."
"This is his third conviction for robbery and the sixth time he has been arrested. Timothy Catlett's record is horrendous," Goren said.
"He has set his own rules in life. He has no respect for the rights and values of others. The community is and should be outraged, the government is outraged, and the court should be outraged by what Timothy Catlett did."
Fuller, the target of a robbery as she was on a shopping errand, was dragged into an alley and kicked and punched to death by a crowd of young people.
Barbara Wade, Fuller's eldest sister, attended the sentencing yesterday with Fuller's husband David and a friend of the family. They said they were pleased with the sentence.
Wade said that she expects the other defendants in the trial, who will be sentenced later this month and in early February, will receive equally stiff sentences.
David Fuller said in a telephone interview there was only one thing that would have been more satisfying to him than the life sentence Catlett received.
"The judge did the best he could, but I'm just sorry they don't have the death penalty, I believe in the Bible, an eye for an eye."