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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

South Carolina Man Pleads Guilty To Second-Degree Murder In 22-Year-Old Murder Case-Admits Taking Part In Memorial Day Killing Of Man At Hains Point-

     WASHINGTON – Lamont Terry, 39, formerly of Columbia, S.C., pled guilty today to a charge of second-degree murder in the slaying of a man during an attempted robbery on Memorial Day of 1992 in East Potomac Park, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Terry pled guilty on the same day that his trial was to begin in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The plea agreement, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a sentence of 20 to 60 years in prison, with all but 20 years to be suspended. The Honorable Robert E. Morin scheduled sentencing for Nov. 14, 2014.

     According to the government’s evidence, on May 25, 1992, Terry and several other individuals drove from Arlington, Va. to the District of Columbia, looking for someone to rob.  In preparation for the robbery, Terry retrieved a sawed-off shotgun, which he brought with him. At approximately 11 p.m., Terry and his friends entered the Hains Point area of East Potomac Park in Southwest Washington. At that time, they came upon the victim, Chet Matthews, 27, who was seated in a parked vehicle on Ohio Drive.

     Terry forcibly removed Mr. Matthews from the car, made him get down on his knees, and began demanding money and jewelry from him. Mr. Matthews pleaded that he had nothing and struggled to remove his rings. While his accomplices searched Mr. Matthews’s car for anything of value, Terry suddenly pulled the trigger on the sawed-off shotgun. He shot Mr. Matthews one time through his chest at close range. All of the men then fled the park. Mr. Matthews, an Army veteran who was employed as a postal carrier, was pronounced dead a short time later.

     Today’s plea is the latest in a series of successful prosecutions by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of older homicide cases. Working with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and other law enforcement partners, the office has a specially designated Cold Case Unit that prosecutes these older cases. In this case, new evidence was obtained that led to the filing of the murder charge against the defendant in January 2012.

     Terry was arrested in Columbia, S.C., in January 2012 by a fugitive apprehension task force of the U.S. Marshals Service. He has remained in custody ever since.

     In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of South Carolina, as well as the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force in Washington, D.C. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Fern Rhedrick, Debra Joyner, and Alesha Matthews Yette; Victim/Witness Security Specialists David Foster and Katina Adams-Washington; Victim/Witness Advocate Tamara Ince; and Litigation Technology Specialists Joshua Ellen, Kimberly Smith, Thomas Royal, Anisha Bhatia, and Aneela Bhatia.

     Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Vinét Bryant, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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Updated February 19, 2015