Mausean Carter had enough of the drug dealers in his Park Heights neighborhood.
They would hassle him and his girlfriend. They would sit on his silver Lexus. So prosecutors say he armed himself with a .40-caliber handgun and high-powered assault rifle and set out.
“His mission was essentially to kill the drug dealers,” Assistant State’s Attorney Traci Robinson told jurors.
She offered this as Carter’s motive for murder during his trial this week in Baltimore Circuit Court. Carter, 31, is accused of a days-long shooting rampage in December 2017 that killed two people, wounded several others and ended with a high-speed chase through West Baltimore — a “one-man crime wave,” Robinson called him.
Among the killed and wounded were a restaurant owner, a convenience store clerk and a handyman — innocent bystanders, Robinson said.
Carter, 31, allegedly fired indiscriminately while trying to elude police. Near Mondawmin Mall, he slowed his car and his girlfriend ran up and pulled him from it. Video cameras captured the harrowing scene.
The brazen violence drew widespread attention — the police commissioner said the entire city was endangered — but the reasons for the attacks have remained a mystery.
“You may ask yourself, why? Why did this happen?” Robinson told jurors. “He was sick of the drug dealers and he was single-handedly going to address the problem.”
Carter is charged with two murders, 10 attempted murders and a slew of gun charges. He faces life in prison if convicted.
He confessed in an interview with homicide detectives, Robinson said. But Carter’s public defender urged jurors to consider his client’s words carefully.
“Pay close attention. Not only to the content, but to any indications that was a voluntary statement,” Frank Cappiello told the jury. “You will be less than convinced that Mausean is attempting to carry out a series of assassinations.”
Wearing a white shirt, black slacks and sneakers, Carter showed no emotion during testimony Thursday. He nodded to a couple sitting quietly in the nearly empty gallery.
The violence began Dec. 8, 2017, when Carter shot into a minivan that cut him off on Edmondson Avenue, Robinson said. Soon, police were alerted to look out for a silver Lexus with tinted windows.
One week later, Martrell Harris, 21, was gunned down during a drive-by shooting on Reisterstown Road. A woman told police she was walking behind Harris when she saw gunfire flash from a Lexus. In charging documents, police wrote that Carter admitted to shooting Harris, saying the man had disrespected his girlfriend.
On Thursday, Detective Steve McDonnell told the jury he asked Carter about that killing.
“He was upset Mr. Harris and some of his associates were harassing him and his girlfriend,” McDonnell said. “He mentioned they slapped her in the butt or something to that effect.”
The jurors saw photos of Harris in a hospital bed. He had been shot in his head and cheek. Bandages covered his head. In the back of the courtroom, a woman cried softly.
“He was making thuggish overtures to his girlfriend?” Cappiello asked the detective.
“More or less,” McDonnell said.
Carter has cleared a court-ordered mental evaluation to stand trial, though family members have said they tried to have Carter evaluated by psychologists, but were turned away. His attorney has said he is schizophrenic.
Carter also allegedly committed a series of drive-by shootings: blasting the .40-caliber at men standing on West Cold Spring Lane, firing the assault rifle into a New York Fried Chicken restaurant.
The restaurant owner was shot in his leg while waiting for a delivery of bread. The high-powered rifle sent bullets through windows, doors and walls, Robinson said. Shell casings littered the streets.
On Dec. 15, police spotted the Lexus and tried to pull it over. Carter took off, leading police on a 45-minute chase through West Baltimore. He allegedly shot into passing cars. A shattered window flung glass in one bystander’s eye.
Carter also shot into the car of another couple who were driving their handyman to Home Depot, Robinson said, wounding the handyman in his head. He’s permanently disabled and suffers seizures.
On Thursday, she also showed jurors footage from surveillance cameras outside the O’s Super Mart in West Baltimore. The footage shows a silver Lexus pass slowly in the street outside. From the driver’s window comes the flash of gunfire.
Inside, two men were wounded. A cashier was killed instantly.
“The defendant said that the fatal victim was collateral damage,” Detective Richard Moore told the jury.
Paramedics found the cashier doubled over in the back. He had been shot once in the top of his head.
A devout Muslim, the man had been kneeling on a green rug. He was killed while saying his evening prayers.