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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | CENTRAL / WESTMINSTER

Wife, Lover Convicted of Killing Husband

July 10, 1998|GREG HERNANDEZ

A jury took just over three hours to convict a woman and her boyfriend Thursday of killing her husband of 17 years and then setting his body on fire inside a trash container.

Defendants Kenneth Boone and Janet Carter sat dejectedly in their seats as each were pronounced guilty of first-degree murder in the July 1997 killing of Lynn Carter, 54, of Westminster. The victim's family members smiled and wept.

Garden Grove firefighters found the victim's body inside a blazing trash bin behind a market at 12833 Harbor Blvd. It took two weeks and the use of dental records to identify him.

Boone, 35, testified in his own defense, accepting some of the blame for the murder. He testified that the killing was the result of a botched plan that involved drugging the victim to steal his credit card. Boone also denied that Janet Carter, 45, had anything to do with the murder.

But after listening to trial testimony about drugs and betrayal, jurors said they never believed the defenses offered.

"It was like watching a bad movie," said juror Kathy Love of Orange.

Some jurors found it hard to believe claims that the woman underwent such a dark transformation in the few months after she became involved with Boone.

"She appeared to be normal, then this criminal comes in and destroys her life?" said the juror, who asked not to identified. "It's pretty incredible that something like that could happen to someone."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Claudia Silbar, who prosecuted the case, called the murder "horrendous," the ultimate betrayal by a woman the victim had been married to for so long.

"This was not your ordinary homicide," Silbar said. "This man was repeatedly beaten, shot in the head three times, dumped into a Dumpster and lit on fire. I thought the [short] length of deliberations was appropriate in light of the overwhelming evidence."

Carter's attorney, Robert Viefhaus, said his client is "devastated." He has asked the jury to consider a conviction on less serious charges, including second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or being an accessory to murder.

Boone's attorney, Jerry Goldfein, said he was also disappointed. He had held out hope that jurors would return a conviction on second-degree murder.

Boone faces a term of 85 years to life in prison because he is a third-strike felon. Carter faces 26 years to life in prison. Both are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Juanita Trujillo, the victim's stepsister, said the verdict would help the family put the tragedy behind them.

"This has been very tough," Trujillo said. Lynn Carter "was a very loving, dedicated family man and he would have given it all to [Janet Carter] if she had asked for a divorce. There was no excuse."

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