Guilty plea in Carter murder

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2015

One of the three defendants in the murder of downtown businessman Donald Carter pleaded guilty to the charges on Wednesday.



Naomi Nichelle Lambert, 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery and two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Jamerson said.

Her jury trial had been set to take place next week. Her sentencing is now set for Nov. 20.

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“She set up a robbery of Mr. Carter that ended up having two other people involved, and one of them wound up killing Mr. Carter,” Jamerson said, adding that she was culpable for all of the same charges as the shooter.

Lambert and two others, Leon Jerome Hayes, 34, and Katron Shawndell Walker, 33, were arrested quickly after the Sept. 22 shooting last year.

A prosecution witness testified last year that she and other friend were walking downtown with Lambert when Carter stopped beside them and offered liquor. The three went to Taco Bell and then dropped one of the other women off at her home. Carter then drove the other two to his furniture store on East Washington Street.

According to the witness, Lambert asked to use a phone and then said, “Leon’s outside.” She had previously told the witness they were going to rob Carter.

The friends decided to leave when Carter offered money for sex, Lambert told police in her statement. The witness saw Hayes and Walker emerge from some shrubbery. She heard someone ask for money, and then gunshots.

Lambert was originally charged with first-degree murder, but it was dropped to second-degree in the plea agreement.

Walker is set to have a jury trial beginning Oct. 13, while Hayes’ jury trial is set to begin Nov. 30.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect it was Lambert who said the friends left when Carter offered money for sex, not the prosecution witness.