Jury Convicts Two Men After Three-Week Trial for Witness Retaliation Resulting in the Murder of a 41 Year Old Victim; Both Defendants Face Mandatory Life Sentences

A federal jury in Baltimore, today convicted Davon Carter, age 39, and Clifton Mosley, age 41, both of Baltimore, 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.  Mosley was also convicted of distribution of marijuana.

“Justice was done today for the senseless murder of Latrina Ashburne.  We do not tolerate witness tampering, intimidation, or retaliation—period,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “In a tragic turn of events, Carter and Mosley’s efforts to silence a witness resulted in the death of a woman who had absolutely nothing to do with the defendants.  These two defendants now face mandatory life sentences in federal prison.  Let this serve as a warning to anyone who might consider making the foolish choice to murder a witness.”

“These defendants targeted a person they thought was responsible for blowing the whistle,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone. “The victim was an innocent bystander who lost her life because the defendants chose to take violent steps to protect a criminal.  The FBI seeks justice for all Americans and will not stand by while people like these defendants throw morality aside to prevent witnesses from communicating with law enforcement.”

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, a 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.

Carter and Mosley each face a mandatory sentence of life in prison for each of the two conspiracy counts and for the witness retaliation and witness tampering murder charges. Carter faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and for the narcotics conspiracy, and faces a maximum of eight years in prison for each of the two counts of using a cellular telephone to facilitate the commission of a felony.  Mosley also faces a maximum of five years in prison for distribution of marijuana.  U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel has scheduled sentencing for May 11, 2020 at 10 a.m. for Mosley and at 11 a.m. for Carter.