Carthon gets life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Andalusia resident Willie Lee Carthon displayed no emotion Monday morning as he was sentenced by Covington County Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan

to life in prison without the possibility of parole on three charges stemming from an incident which occurred in October of 2000.

Carthon, 36, received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on charges of first-degree rape and attempted murder and also robbery in the first degree.

He also received 20 years on receiving stolen property in the second degree in an unrelated charge involving a stolen car. The sentences will run concurrently.

He was accused of abducting and raping Andalusia resident Mary Jean McCart on Oct. 17, 2000 and attempting to murder her by running over her with her own vehicle. The attack eventually resulted in the amputation of McCart's left leg.

Earlier this year, a jury needed only 12 minutes to find Carthon competent to stand trial.

Carthon had previous pled guilty to all of the charges, and during Monday's sentencing hearing, Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Gambril referred to previous criminal convictions, which included two convictions of theft of property, a conviction for receiving

stolen property, assault in the second degree and escape in the second degree.

Anthony Bishop, who represented Carthon during the hearing, said during his statement


should be considered that Carthon has had problems with substance abuse much of his life and has spent much

of his life involved with the Department of Corrections.

He requested that the court consider Carthon's problems, and noted that Carthon had issued an apology for his actions.

Bishop added that all people make mistakes, and said Carthon's family would like to see him be out of prison, and said Carthon would like to have a chance to enjoy a normal life,

free of the substance abuse problems which have plagued him for much of his life.

Bishop added that such a chance would allow Carthon the ability to contribute to society

and asked that the court show some degree of leniency.

Gambrill, however, in his statement, said that granting such an opportunity to Carthon

would be a mistake, adding that the actions perpetuated by Carthon were some of the most

cold, craving and vicious acts he has heard of since he began practicing law in Covington


He said Carthon, during the incident with McCart, "made a series of conscious choices,"

and a series of choices that took place over hours.

Gambril said Carthon's poor choices have resulted in a history of criminal activity in the community since Carthon was a youth.

He said that most of Carthon's prior convictions have come as a result of guilty pleas, which reflects Carthon's understanding of his guilt.

McCart, Gambril said, has been left with the memories of the encounter with Carthon,

both physically and mentally, and Gambril added that Carthon is "the perfect example of why the Legislature passed the Habitual Felony Offender Act."

"(Carthon) has shown a persistent course of criminal activity," said Gambril. "He has refused to conform to the law."

Gambril said he was pleased with the court's decision, and the fact that the matter has been resolved.

"First of all, I would say I am extremely pleased that Judge McKathan handed down the maximum punishment in the case," said Gambril. "This was really the only sentence allowable. I am glad this case is over so the community can heal and the McCart family can heal. This case has been so extremely taxing for Mrs. McCart and it is a true testament

to her faith and the support of the community that she has been able to make it."

Bishop said he had no comment following the hearing.