A Northwest Baltimore man is headed for prison — not a mental hospital — after jurors found him sane while he drove through the city blasting an assault rifle from his Lexus.
On Thursday, jurors decided Mausean Carter should be held responsible for the violence of Dec. 15, 2017. He faces life in prison for attempted murder, gun charges and reckless endangerment.
The 31-year-old from Park Heights became notorious for leading police on a high-speed chase through West Baltimore while firing out his car window. Footage of the harrowing pursuit was watched widely online.
His motive emerged during a two-week trial this month in Baltimore Circuit Court. Detectives said Carter felt harassed and threatened by neighborhood drug dealers, so he commenced a series of drive-by shootings — his own war on drugs.
He had pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. With the plea, he sought to be committed to a mental hospital and not a prison.
His public defender, Frank Cappiello, did not return a message after Thursday’s decision.
The question of Carter’s sanity was put to jurors after hours of testimony from doctors. A psychologist hired by the defense told jurors she diagnosed Carter with delusional disorder, saying his obsessions about being persecuted by drug dealers outgrew reality. When his 911 calls went unanswered, he began to suspect the police were in cahoots.
“His girlfriend took him to the hospital because he was running around the house with a hammer, saying someone was trying to get in,” said Dr. Beverli Mormile, the defense psychologist.
Cappiello, his public defender, told the jury his client even believed his pit bull sent him telepathic messages and the president of Venezuela bought him a car.
Prosecutors, however, argued that Carter’s problem was anger worsened by a daily cocktail of marijuana and whiskey — not mental illness. He cooked up symptoms after realizing an insanity finding could help him avoid years in prison, said Dr. Annette Hanson, psychiatrist at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup.
She evaluated Carter for the court.
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“Every time we asked about a symptom, he agreed with it,” she told the jury.
Prosecutors had tried to convict Carter on an array of crimes — including two murders and 10 attempted murders — saying he went on a shooting rampage over three days in December 2017 that left two men dead and several others wounded. During trial, they presented DNA evidence that put the weapons in Carter’s hands. They matched bullets from the bodies to the guns. They played for jurors Carter’s recorded interview with police; he discusses his war on drugs.
The trial ended with a mixed verdict. Jurors acquitted Carter of shooting up a minivan that cut him off while driving. The jury was deadlocked over charges that Carter gunned down a man on Reisterstown Road and fired a round through a convenience store wall, killing a clerk.
Circuit Judge Robert Taylor declared a mistrial on these charges. Prosecutors said in court they will try Carter again for the killings.
A spokeswoman for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby declined to comment Thursday.
The jury, however, did find him guilty of crimes from the car chase. He sped through West Baltimore for about 45 minutes, firing at police and passing cars. One bullet hit and disabled a handyman on his way to Home Depot. Shattered glass wounded another bystander in the eye.
The judge has not yet scheduled Carter’s sentencing. It’s expected after he stands trial again on the murder charges.