Brandon Jamal Carter of Rapidan pleaded guilty in Orange County Circuit Court on August 12 to charges of breaking and entering with the intent to rape, murder or commit arson, unlawful wounding and trespassing.
Carter, 26, was arrested in April and originally charged with two counts of breaking and entering on Aug. 30, 2018; one count each of malicious wounding and breaking and entering with intent to rape, murder or commit arson, both on Sept. 30, 2018; and one misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice for remotely “wiping” or clearing the contents of his cellphone after police obtained it, according to Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana O’Connell.
Carter confessed to breaking into two apartments at Heritage Hills Apartments in Orange on August 30 of last year. In the first instance, O’Connell said, the elderly woman who lived in the apartment told Carter to leave. He asked to use the phone and she let him. After he finished his call, he began asking her questions the woman considered inappropriate, O’Connell said. The woman got someone else in the apartment to help her persuade him to leave, but no one reported the incident to police.
Carter then went downstairs and walked into another apartment in the same building, again without permission, and startled the occupant. She initially agreed to let him use the phone but changed her mind. O’Connell said the woman shoved Carter, who then shoved her back. The woman, who suffers from dementia, called the police but misidentified the intruder.
A month later, Carter broke into another apartment at Heritage Hills and assaulted the elderly resident. After Carter pleaded guilty on August 12, the 93-year-old victim described the assault and its impact on her. O’Connell said the woman testified while sitting in a wheelchair and drawing on a portable supply of oxygen.
O’Connell explained why she reduced the malicious wounding charge related to the assault on the 93-year-old woman to unlawful wounding: “We believe the injuries were sustained not because he was trying to cut, stab or wound her but because he was trying to physically control her, and she is so fragile, especially her skin, that she was wounded and bled.”
She said she amended one of the breaking and entering charges from the Aug. 30, 2018, incident to a misdemeanor trespassing charge because the resident allowed Carter inside her home, but he didn’t immediately leave when she told him to. She said she didn’t prosecute the second break-in on that date because the witness was unavailable due to her health problems. Finally, she said her office didn’t prosecute the phone-related charge, because the police were able to access the contents of the defendant’s phone, despite his attempt to foil them.
Attorney Michael Hallahan represented the defendant, and O’Connell represented the commonwealth. Judge Lon Farris, a retired judge from Prince William County, presided.
Carter is scheduled for sentencing on October 22 at 9:30 a.m.