Two charged with killing Suffolk business man previously convicted

Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-23 20:07:52-04

Suffolk, Va. - The two people charged with killing an 82-year-old Suffolk businessman are no strangers to police.

According to Suffolk District Court documents, 33-year-old Leon Hayes and 22-year-old Naomi Lambert each have several previous convictions and were on probation at the time of their most recent arrest.

Now they’re charged with first degree murder for the death of 82-year-old Donald Carter, the long-time owner of two downtown furniture stores near Franklin and East Washington streets.

"He's gone, he's not there anymore. We realize that he can't come back but he'll be missed for a long time,” said former Suffolk Mayor Andy Damiani.

It was just outside one of Carter’s stores where police say Hayes and Lambert tried to rob the beloved businessman before shooting him in the abdomen. It happened around 1:40 a.m. Monday.

To some, an 82-year-old man outside at that hour might seem strange but Damiani says if you know Carter, it’s not all that unusual.

"His hours were kind of twisted a little bit. When everybody else was awake, he was asleep. I guess it wasn't unusual. He's so attached to the business,” explained Damiani.

Damiani says Carter started his family-owned furniture business in the 1950s.

In fact, he reminisced about his friend of 55 years while sitting in a chair he says he bought from Carter's store 25 years ago.

"He understood retailing as a service to the people and that's why he was very successful,” said Damiani.

According to Suffolk online court records, Hayes was previously convicted of unlawful wounding in 2000 and domestic assault in 2005 while Lambert was convicted of assault and battery and arson in 2013.

On top of first-degree murder, the two have also been charged with attempted robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony for Carter's death.

Both are being held without bail and have a court hearing scheduled for the morning of December 2nd.

To see the obituary, click here.