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Man gets two life sentences plus 50 years for murder of 1-year-old Carter Scott

A 28-year-old Cherry Hill man was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus 50 years for his role in a 2013 ambush that left a 1-year-old boy dead.

A jury convicted Cornell Harvey in June of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted first-degree murder. Prosecutors said he lured Rashaw Scott to a parking lot where a group of men wearing latex gloves, presumably to mask fingerprints, opened fire on his vehicle.

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Scott survived, but his son, Carter, who was seated in a car seat in the back, suffered fatal injuries.

"That baby certainly did not deserve his last memory to be bullets ripping through his legs while he was strapped in his car seat, or to spend the last moments of his life not with a family member," Assistant State's Attorney Tonya LaPolla wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Instead, she said, Carter died "with a Baltimore City Police Officer trying to stop the bleeding by shoving his fingers into the bullet holes in his legs."

The trial spanned two months and was interrupted by the April unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody. The Scott case highlighted the difficulty that prosecutors sometimes confront when they try to get witnesses and victims to testify.

According to prosecutors, Rashaw Scott told police officers at the scene that Harvey had set him up. But when the trial began, he refused to come to court to testify and had to be arrested.

Harvey, who was not convicted of firing any shots, maintained his innocence. He told Circuit Judge John Addison Howard that "by no stretch of anyone's imagination did I receive a fair or decent trial."

Howard said the proceedings were fair, and the conviction appropriate because the "events could not have occurred" without Harvey, who prosecutors said directed Scott on how and where to park moments before the ambush.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby attended the hearing, speaking with one of Scott's family members in the courtroom before the hearing.

"I'm glad justice was served, especially this individual in particular, who has escaped justice before," Mosby said afterward.

Harvey was previously acquitted of murder in 2013. In the Scott case, he was one of five men tried for the crime, which occurred May 24, 2013.

A lone holdout on the jury led to a mistrial against Eddie Tarver, Reginald Love, Dequan Shields, and Rashid Mayo, who are scheduled for another trial in October.

On the stand, Rashaw Scott said that police coerced and coached him to provide the statements he made about the shooting while he was in a hospital recovering from his wounds. He testified that he didn't remember much about the incident.

LaPolla wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Scott's "behavior on the witness stand was deplorable, especially considering that the fatal victim in this case was his own son."

"Rashaw Scott may arguably not be a good witness, a good father, or even a good person, but no person deserves to be deliberately lured into a hail of bullets and left for dead," LaPolla wrote.

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"And the fact remains that this defendant's all-consuming desire to lead this victim to his execution on the streets of this city was the direct cause of death of one-year-old Carter Scott."

Harvey "deliberately led them to their deaths," LaPolla argued, and could have called off the attack.

Harvey's defense attorney, Joshua Insley, said there was no evidence that Harvey had been in communication with the shooters before or after the attack and therefore able to call it off. Insley called that a "very large assumption."

While Scott allegedly blurted out that Harvey had set him up, that wasn't supported by any other evidence, Insley said.

But Howard said the evidence was "more than sufficient" for Harvey to be found guilty. The judge noted he has thrown out cases when he felt the evidence was not sufficient.

Earlier this year, Howard dismissed charges in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes. In that case, Mosby said Howard had erred and later refiled the charges, which were again dismissed by a different judge.

Harvey was charged with first-degree murder in 2011 in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Randol Buncombe in Cherry Hill. He was found not guilty by a jury on Jan. 31, 2013, just four months before Carter Scott's killing.

Harvey has pending federal charges in a case in which he is alleged to have been part of a Cherry Hill gang called "Up Da Hill." Members are alleged to have committed six killings, not including that of Carter Scott.

Howard concluded the hearing by telling Harvey, "May God have mercy on your soul."

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