A teenager who seriously injured a 9-year-old Fredericksburg girl with a high-velocity air rifle last year was allowed Thursday to serve his time in a special program for young offenders.

Terrell Christopher Carter, 18, was previously convicted in Fredericksburg Circuit Court of malicious wounding, shooting from an occupied dwelling and felony destruction of property.

Judge Gordon Willis sentenced Carter Thursday to a total of 20 years in prison, with all but four years suspended. But he granted defense attorney Matthew Muggeridge’s request to place Carter in the Youthful Offender Program, an alternative to regular prison for young offenders that focuses on education and rehabilitation.

Carter will be in the program for up to four years. If he does not successfully complete it, he would face the possibility of having some or all of his suspended time reinstated.

According to evidence presented previously by prosecutor Elizabeth Humphries, the girl was on the playground at Wellington Lakes Apartment complex in the late afternoon two days before Christmas when Carter fired a shot from a window that struck the child in the torso.

The girl was taken to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond to be treated for a serious injury to her spleen. She spent Christmas and several more days in the hospital, but has since recovered and was in court Thursday with her mother and stepfather.

Humphries said the investigation showed that Carter had aimed the gun at other children on different days. The destruction of property conviction was unrelated to the girl and involves earlier damage around the apartment complex.

Judge Willis told Carter that, “I can’t imagine what was going through your mind when you took an air rifle and shot a 9-year-old. It boggles comprehension that one human being would do that to another, much less a child.”

The shot was fired from the residence of James Phillip Robinson, who was convicted in May of shooting in an occupied dwelling, felony destruction of property and accessory after the fact of malicious wounding. Robinson, 24, will be sentenced Aug. 11.

Apollo M. Jenkins, 20, is charged with the same offenses that Robinson was convicted of. A trial for Jenkins has been delayed because of COVID-19 concerns and a new date is pending.

Carter was ordered to make restitution of $2,500 to the victim’s family and to have no contact with them or his codefendants.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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