Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Shooting that Killed Innocent Bystander

A DC Superior Court judge sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for a shooting that killed an innocent bystander.

Lagioria Brinkley was 36-years-old when she was struck in the head by gunfire while walking down a sidewalk in Anacostia on the night of March 20, 2020. She was not associated with the defendant, NeQuan Carthens, who says he did not intend for her to die.

“She had no right for her life to be taken away,” 21-year-old Carthens said during the Jan. 7 sentencing.

The prosecutor played video footage of the shooting, which took place on the 1900 block of 16th Street, SE. The footage shows a blue vehicle traveling along a brick east-west alley. Carthens and another individual can be seen exiting the vehicle before firing into the street, getting back into the car and fleeing the scene. Carthens fired his weapon nine times, according to Judge Danya Dayson.

“His actions shattered the calm of that neighborhood,” the prosecutor said, noting that there was another group of people congregating nearby when Carthens opened fire.

Defense attorney Kevann Gardner agreed that the video was troubling but also said it was not representative of who Carthens is as a person. He recalled first meeting his client, who he said was distraught upon learning of Brinkley’s death.

“I have nothing but remorse,” Carthens said, apologizing to the victim’s family. Family members were present at the sentencing but none chose to make a victim impact statement. 

Carthens was initially charged with first-degree murder while armed in this case. Last October, parties reached an agreement that he would plead down to voluntary manslaughter while armed. The plea deal includes an agreed-upon sentencing recommendation of 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

This is the defendant’s first adult conviction. He was also never arrested as a juvenile.

Gardner asked Judge Dayson to sentence his client under the Youth Rehabilitation Act, which would allow his case to be effectively sealed if he completes certain requirements. The prosecution opposed this request. 

Judge Dayson decided to hold off ruling on the Youth Act, expressing the desire to see how he conducts himself during his incarceration. During the proceedings, she emphasized the dangerousness of firing into an area with bystanders nearby, calling such actions “abhorrent.” 

Gardner also asked Judge Dayson to recommend that Carthens be placed at FCI Beckley, a federal prison in West Virginia, so he can participate in their Bureau Rehabilitation and Values Enhancement program. The cognitive-behavioral program often referred to as the “BRAVE” program lasts for six months and is designed to help young inmates adjust to incarceration, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Judge Dayson agreed to Gardner’s request.