Fugitive in botched robbery to stand trial in NK
John Steven Carter, the reputed drug dealer who fled the area after authorities say he shot to death one of four teens involved in a 2008 botched robbery attempt, is being returned to New Kent County to face five felony charges.
New Kent Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory said last week that an arrangement has been made with federal authorities to bring back Carter, who is charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, illegal disposal of a dead body, and two counts of forging a public document. Carter is not being charged in connection with the youth’s shooting death since authorities say he acted in self-defense.
Carter, 57, is being held in a federal prison at Fort Dix, N.J. where he is serving 10 years following conviction last year on federal drug and firearm charges incurred in Florida. He is to be transferred to Henrico Jail East in New Kent where he will await court proceedings on the New Kent charges.
Last year, Gregory said he had no plans to prosecute Carter on the New Kent offenses, unless Carter received less than 30 years on the federal counts.
“That’s why he’s coming back, but he forced us to bring him back,” Gregory said on Monday, adding Carter acted on his own to file what is termed an “interstate agreement on detainer’s act.”
“We had filed a detainer so if he finished his federal sentence, we could bring him back here,” Gregory explained. “What he said to us is I’m going to make you try me now, so that forced us to go forward.”
Carter is due in New Kent General District Court on July 20 for determination of counsel. After that, Gregory said, a preliminary hearing is to be scheduled with the prosecution’s goal of having the charges certified to a county circuit court grand jury. That grand jury is expected to convene in September.
The marijuana manufacturing count stems from a concealed “grow room” inside Carter’s Lanexa rental home that was discovered after the shooting. Authorities seized 348 marijuana plants with a street value of over $1 million.
Carter’s rental house at 15600 Pocahontas Trail (Route 60), just a few hundred yards west of the James City County line, and its marijuana stash inside became the target of four Williamsburg area teens in the early evening hours of Oct. 14, 2008. One of the foursome, 18 year-old Christopher Greene, wielded a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun with a modified pistol grip.
Three of the four teens approached the house, intent on robbing the dealer of weed and cash. Greene tried twice to kick open the back door. On the second attempt, shots from a .357 handgun rang out from inside. One bullet struck Greene in the chest, prompting the other teens to flee.
The next day, authorities found Greene’s body hidden under a pile of firewood and concealed by a tarp in the back yard. Investigators never recovered the shotgun until Carter’s relatives surrendered the weapon about two months later.
The three survivors, along with two other teens who tipped them off concerning the stash, eventually pleaded guilty on an assortment of charges in New Kent Circuit Court.
Carter, meanwhile, fled the area and remained at large until March 18, 2009 when, acting on a tip relayed by the New Kent Sheriff’s Office, police and U.S. marshals found the fugitive hiding in an abandoned trailer in Geneva, Ala., a small town just north of the Florida line. He has been in federal custody ever since.
Carter reportedly suffers from health problems, including diabetes. If convicted on the New Kent charges, he faces five to 30 years on the manufacturing count, a mandatory two years and up to five on the firearm charge, one to five years for illegally disposing of Greene’s body, and two to 10 years on each forgery count for a maximum total of 60 years.
The forgery charges stem from Carter allegedly signing the name of William Joseph Benton Jr., a deceased friend, on a pair of police summonses issued before the 2008 shooting. Authorities say the friend’s name was also the alias Carter was living under while residing in New Kent.