Baltimore Career Offender Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering a Baltimore Woman Believed to be a Witness in a Federal Case
Co-Defendant Also Face Mandatory Life Sentence in Federal Prison
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today sentenced Davon Carter, age 40, of Baltimore, to four life terms in federal prison for two counts of conspiracy to murder a witness and one count each of witness retaliation murder and witness tampering murder, related to the murder of Latrina Ashburne, age 41, on May 27, 2016. Carter was also convicted of a federal narcotics conspiracy charge, two counts of using a cellular telephone to facilitate the commission of a felony, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. A federal jury in Baltimore convicted Carter and co-defendant Clifton Mosley, age 42, also of Baltimore, on January 29, 2020, after a three-week trial.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Acting Special Agent in Charge Rachel Byrd of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.
“We will never tolerate witness tampering, intimidation, or retaliation—period,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “Carter and Mosley’s efforts to silence a witness resulted in the death of a woman who had absolutely nothing to do with them. Carter will now serve the rest of his life in federal prison and his co-defendant also faces life in federal prison. While there is no sentence that can ease the pain of the family and friends of Latrina Ashburne for her senseless murder, I hope that they can take some comfort in the fact that Carter will never be free to walk the streets again.”
According to the evidence presented at their three-week trial, Carter and Mosley conspired to kill a witness who had provided information to law enforcement about a good friend of Carter’s, Matthew Hightower. In June 2015, Hightower was charged federally in a health care fraud scheme. While on release in the health care fraud case, the federal grand jury began investigating crimes of violence for which Hightower was implicated, including the murder of David Wutoh. In July or August 2015, Hightower learned the identity of the health care fraud whistleblower (the witness) who also had incriminating information against him relating to the Wutoh murder. Contrary to his release conditions, he began communicating with witnesses who had been in the grand jury. All the while, Carter and Mosley remained in frequent and regular contact with Hightower.
On April 19, 2016, the grand jury returned a sealed superseding indictment against Hightower charging both Hightower and Harry Crawford and with extortion and using interstate facilities for extortion resulting in the death (murder) of David Wutoh. Ten days later, the government filed a motion requesting revocation of Hightower’s release conditions based on the new charges and his prohibited contact with grand jury witnesses. The motion was granted on May 4, 2016 and Hightower was detained. Hightower was ultimately convicted of extortion resulting in Wutoh’s murder by a federal jury on September 22, 2016, after a seven-day trial and was sentenced to 380 months in federal prison.
While Hightower was detained, Carter assumed responsibility for Hightower’s marijuana distribution business, and engaged in direct communications with the source of supply. Carter also collected money and ran other errands for Hightower.
The evidence showed that on May 27, 2016, Ms. Ashburne was murdered in the early morning as she got into her car outside the home she shared with her mother in the 2900 block of Rosalind Avenue in Baltimore’s Cylburn neighborhood. The police reported that an unknown male approached and shot Ms. Ashburne in the upper body as she tried to run. She was not robbed. At the time, the police also released a video they said showed the suspect running away from the scene.
The witness lived next door to Ms. Ashburne. The witness contacted law enforcement to report the murder and that she believed she was the intended target. The investigation showed that Mosley’s phone was in the area at the time of the murder and in contact with Carter’s phone. In addition, vehicles owned by the mother of Carter’s girlfriend and by Hightower were captured on surveillance video driving slowly through the area as if the driver were looking for someone. The evidence at trial established that Carter and Mosley each drove one of the vehicles.
Mosley faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for each of the two conspiracy counts and for the witness retaliation and witness tampering murder charges. Mosley also faces a maximum of five years in prison for distribution of marijuana. Judge Hazel has not yet scheduled a sentencing date for Mosley.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the HHS-OIG, the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore Police Department, and the ATF for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Kim Oldham, who are prosecuting the case and also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, who prosecuted the Hightower case, for their assistance.
# # #