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Case Number: 1:17-cr-00667-GJH
Judge: George J. Hazel
Court: United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Baltimore, MD: Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with conspiracy to murder a witness and witness tampering.
Clifton Mosley, age 43, of Baltimore, Maryland was charged with 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. Mosley was charged with distribution marijuana.
A federal jury in Baltimore convicted Mosley and co-defendant, Davon Carter, age 41, also of Baltimore, on January 29, 2020, after a three-week trial.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Clifton Mosley and Davon Carter not only attempted to disrupt our justice system, they also took the life of an innocent woman from Baltimore. The loss of Latrina Ashburne is a tragedy and a deep loss to her family and to the community, and those responsible will now spend the remainder of their lives in federal prison,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “As demonstrated by this case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement team will never cease to aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who attempt to harm or intimidate witnesses.”
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 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.
The evidence at trial proved 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. A neighbor 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 targeted by Hightower lived next door to Ms. Ashburne, the murder victim. 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, 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 and that the two men were in contact with one another both the night before the murder and in the early morning hours before the shooting. The evidence at trial also showed that Mosley searched a public court database on May 26 in a possible effort to confirm a court appearance for the witness on May 27, therefore, giving an approximate time when the witness would leave her home the morning of the shooting. Ms. Ashburne left her home at or about the same anticipated time, resulting in her mistaken execution.
Davon Carter was previously sentenced to four life terms in federal prison for two counts of conspiracy to murder a witness and one count each of witness retaliation murder and witness tampering murder on May 20, 2021.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the HHS-OIG, the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore Police Department, and the ATF for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and Kim Oldham, who are prosecuting the case and also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, who prosecuted the Hightower case, for their assistance.
18:1513(f) and (a)(1)(B) CONSPIRACY TO MURDER A WITNESS (RETALIATION)
18:1513(a)(1)(B) WITNESS RETALIATION MURDER, 18:2 AIDING AND ABETTING
18:1512(k) and (a)(1)(A) CONSPIRACY TO MURDER AND WITNESS (TAMPERING)
18:1512(a)(1)(A) WITNESS TAMPERING MURDER, 18:2 AIDING AND ABETTING
21:841(a)(1), (b)(1)(D) DISTRIBUTION OF MARIJUANA, 18:2 AIDING AND ABETTING
Outcome: IMPRISONMENT for a total term of life in prison (life in prison as to each counts 1-4 and 60 months as to Count 10, all such terms to run concurrent); SUPERVISED RELEASE for a term of 5 years; ASSESSMENT in the amount of $500.00