St. John's court docket
Judge says time reflects seriousness of crimes, allows for chance at rehabilitation
Andrew Walter Carter was sentenced in provincial court in St. John’s Monday after pleading guilty to committing six robberies. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram
Victims described him as polite, but a drug-addicted robber got a rude awakening Monday when he was given a hefty prison term.
Andrew Walter Carter — who committed six robberies out of desperation to get money to buy drugs — was sentenced to five years in jail at provincial court in St. John’s.
As he was led back to the holding cells, Carter said goodbye to several members of his family who were in the courtroom.
In making his decision, Judge David Orr said addiction is both a mitigating and aggravating factor in sentencing.
He said while it’s important to impose a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime, “I can’t lose sight of (the importance) of rehabilitation and I must not impose a sentence that’s crushing.
“Mr. Carter is not someone who is beyond redemption.”
Carter pleaded guilty to 18 charges stemming from four armed robberies, one robbery and one attempted robbery, all of which happened at convenience stores in the capital city in the span of two months last winter.
The 27-year-old — who turned himself in to police in April — had no criminal record prior to the robberies.
According to the facts of the case read in court during Carter’s sentencing hearing last week, store clerks in several of the robberies said Carter was cordial and even apologized as he was holding them up. He called one female clerk “‘Ma’am” and a male employee “Sir.”
When Carter confessed to the crimes at RNC headquarters, he told officers he realized the only way he would get help was to be incarcerated.
Carter told officers that he first tried marijuana in high school and that led to him using Percocet and OxyContin. In the past few years he had a serious addiction to morphine.
He had tried many times to get help, but to no avail.
When Carter committed his first robbery Jan. 20, he had just gotten out of a detox program at the Waterford Hospital. His withdrawal symptoms were strong and he decided to hold up City Superette on Pleasant Street to get money for drugs.
The male clerk, however, chased him out of the store with a metal pipe. Carter threw the pocketknife he was carrying into the street.
He said he told the clerk he “hated to do this.” He ran to a friend’s house, where he said he had a panic attack.
Still frantic to get his fix, he robbed the Ultramar on Kenmount Road later that day.
Four days later, he robbed the Marie’s Mini-Mart on Thorburn Road.
He struck the Ultramar on Kenmount Road again on Jan. 29 and made off with money and a carton of cigarettes.
He committed his last robbery on March 19, when he held up Marie’s Mini-Mart on Blackmarsh Road.
Carter pleaded guilty to six counts each of robbery and having his face masked, five counts of possessing a weapon and one count of theft under $5,000, which happened March 6 at Sears, where he took several bottles of perfume.
His lawyer, Michelle Coady, had recommended a sentence of three to four years. Crown prosecutor Bill Cadigan asked for four to six years.