Great Mills man pleads guilty to murder of his estranged wife

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Great Mills man pleads guilty to murder of his estranged wife

Leonardtown, MD - 8/8/2013

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By Dick Myers

A Great Mills man on Thursday pled guilty to the first-degree murder of his estranged wife. James Mitchell Carter, 46, entered into a plea agreement with the state’s attorney's office whereby he would plead guilty in exchange for receiving life in prison with the possibility of parole in the death of Kimberly Carter, 38. The maximum sentence in Maryland for first-degree murder is life without parole.

In accepting the plea, Circuit Court Judge David Densford told Carter that he would serve a minimum of 25 years and perhaps more and that state law requires the governor to agree to parole in a first-degree murder case.

According to the original report from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, “Police units responded on February 19 (2013) at 3:30 22000 block of Douglas Ct. Great Mill’s, Maryland for the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival police units encountered a man who was nude. The man advised he had been inside a residence visiting a woman when he was approached by a male subject and a struggle ensued. The male victim stated he had been assaulted by the male subject who had entered the residence. The male victim then fled the residence to a nearby residence and notified police. Police units checked the area of the residence where the struggle ensued and discovered a female, lying in the rear yard of the residence, suffering from injuries to her head and was pronounced deceased on the scene.”

According to a statement of facts presented Thursday by States Attorney Richard Fritz, James Carter entered Kimberly Carter’s bedroom and started to severely beat her. Mrs. Carter escaped through a window and Mr. Cater pursued her and beat her to death with a cinder block.

Fritz said if the case had gone to trial the state would have presented DNA evidence from both Mr. and Mrs. Carter on bloody clothes discarded by Mr. Carter and found alongside Willows Road and DNA evidence of Mr. Carter found under the fingernails of Mrs. Carter.

Carter, who was represented by Public Defender Gerald Riviello, admitted the state could prove the case against him and said he freely accepted the plea agreement.

Members of Mrs. Carter’s family were in the room for the plea hearing. Fritz said they would like to present victim’s statements to the court for consideration at the time of sentencing. Fritz said the family went along with the plea agreement.

Judge Densford said he would sentence Carter based on the plea agreement but ordered a pre- sentence investigation by the Department of Parole and Probation. Official sentencing will be in about 60 days. Carter is being held in jail without bond.

The plea hearing for Carter was held a short time after a jury in another first-degree murder case began their deliberations. Andre Bowman, 31, of Laurel is the second of three defendants being tried in connection with the shooting death of Robert McDowney, Sr., 37. James Clay. Jr., 36, of no fixed address, was convicted of felony first degree murder on July 24 in connection with the same incident. We will present the results of the Bowman trial as soon as the jury verdict is announced.

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