- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Lexington Park man will go before a jury Monday to face first-degree murder and other charges related to a deadly shooting that occurred more than two years ago.
Andrew Allen Carter, 26, turned down an offer Wednesday from the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Antonio Nathaniel Pollard Jr.
Carter will instead face 12 of his peers in a jury trial, where they will determine his guilt or innocence on a first-degree murder charge, additional homicide charges and several weapons violations.
St. Mary’s detectives charged Carter after they alleged he shot Pollard in the head during a dispute between the two men on Aug. 28, 2010, at a Lexwood Court apartment.
“We have presented a plea agreement,” State’s Attorney Daniel White said.
After the defense lawyer spent nearly an hour talking to his client followed by two private sessions between the lawyers and Circuit Judge Graydon S. McKee, the judge took the bench again.
“Should we order a jury for Monday?” McKee asked.
“Yes, sir,” Jason Kobin, Carter’s lawyer, replied.
The lawyers agreed that the trial should run about four days, with jury selection and opening arguments on Monday followed by evidence presentation and witness testimony the following two to three days.
Kobin asked for a continuance of the case, in part due to what he said was his own three-week illness last month.
“Based upon the history of this case, how old it is” the court’s going to deny your motion,” the judge said.
The judge outlined the plea deal offered to Carter earlier Wednesday morning. The prosecution had offered a guilty plea on second-degree murder, dropping the first-degree charge, and would allow arguments from both sides to be given to the judge before Carter’s sentencing.
The judge said he would normally abide by sentencing guidelines, but that in the case of the plea deal, he would “keep an open mind,” based on what circumstances surrounded the incident.
“You do not wish to plea?” the judge asked Carter.
“No, your honor,” Carter said.
“OK, I’ll see you on Monday,” the judge said.
The court proceeding was sparsely attended. In addition to relatives of Pollard, Carter’s sister Lauren Carter sat waiting for the outcome of Wednesday morning’s hearing.
“I go see him every Tuesday ... We talk weekly,” his sister said.
When asked how Carter is doing in jail, where he has been held for two years since initially denied bond for the charges, Lauren Carter said, “He’s strong-willed” and holding up fine. She said she plans to attend the trial next week to show support for her brother.
The case was initially delayed after a new indictment was issued against Carter in March 2011. Kobin is his third attorney in this case.