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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 14, 2014

South Carolina Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Second-Degree Murder And Attempted Robbery In 1992 Slaying Near Hains PointAdmitted Taking Part In Memorial Day Killing Of Man

     WASHINGTON – Lamont Terry, 40, formerly of Columbia, S.C., was sentenced today to 20 years in prison after earlier pleading guilty to killing a man during an attempted robbery on Memorial Day of 1992 in East Potomac Park, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.

     Terry pled guilty in September 2014 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert E. Morin. The judge sentenced Terry to a prison term of 15 years to life on a charge of second-degree murder and another five to 15 years in prison for attempted robbery while armed. He suspended all but 15 years of the murder sentence and all but five years of the attempted robbery sentence, resulting in a total 20-year prison term.

     According to the government’s evidence, on May 25, 1992, Terry and 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.

     Terry’s plea is among a series of successful prosecutions of older homicide cases following investigations by the Cold Case Squad of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Working with the MPD and other law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has a specially designated Cold Case Unit that prosecutes these older cases. Through these efforts, more than 20 defendants have been convicted of older homicides since 2009.

     In this case, new evidence was obtained that led to the filing of the murder charge against the defendant in January 2012.

     “More than two decades ago, Chet Matthews was killed in a senseless robbery near Hains Point, said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Thanks to the resolve of our office and the Metropolitan Police Department, Lamont Terry today is finally paying the price for that crime. This case represents our commitment to bringing murderers to justice, no matter how much time has passed. The message to criminals and the families of the victims is clear – we will not waver in our commitment to investigate and prosecute cold case homicides.”

     “This case demonstrates the commitment of the Metropolitan Police Department to pursue cases no matter how old and to bring justice to the families who have lost their loved ones to senseless violence,” said Police Chief Lanier. “I commend the Cold Case Squad for their efforts.”

     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. Three other men also have pled guilty to charges in the case as a result of the renewed investigation. Norman Henderson, 41, pled guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter while armed. George Booth, 39, and Anthony Orr, 41, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. All are awaiting sentencing. Like Terry, Henderson, Booth and Orr are formerly from Arlington, Va.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. They 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. They 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 Advocates Tamara Ince and Marcia Rinker; and Litigation Technology Specialists Joshua Ellen, Kimberly Smith, Thomas Royal, Anisha Bhatia, and Aneela Bhatia.

     Finally, they 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