Page 11 of 2 DOCUMENTSThe Washington PostJune 19, 1986, Thursday, Final Edition
Final Fuller Defendant Gets 12 to 36 Years;Calvin Alston's Sentence in Brutal Killing Follows Plea for Leniency
By Elsa Walsh, Washington Post Staff Writer
561 wordsD.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Fred Ugast yesterday sentenced the last of Catherine Fuller's killers toprison, expressing "horror that something like this could happen in our city" and warning other young peoplethat D.C. citizens will not tolerate such cruelty."The horror and the brutality of this crime has aroused this community and has raised the consciousness of this community in a way I haven't seen in my 13 years on the bench," Ugast told 21-year-old Calvin Alston,as he sentenced him to 12 to 36 years in prison.Alston, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea bargain in which he testified for the government in last year's trial of 10 persons accused of killing Fuller, faced a maximum sentence of 15years to life.Most of those convicted of first-degree murder during that trial received prison terms of 35 years to life.Alston, who agreed to be a government witness on the eve of that trial, told the jury that he was the personwho pointed out Fuller as a possible target for the robbery that led to her death Oct. 1, 1984.Ugast's imposition of the prison term followed a poignant plea for leniency from prosecutor Jerry Goren, whosaid Alston "went way beyond what he had to do" in assisting the government. Alston's trial testimony, Gorensaid, was of "great significance" in bringing about the convictions of eight defendants.Eleven persons eventually were convicted of beating to death the 48-year-old Fuller in an abandoned North-east garage during a random robbery as about two dozen people watched. It was the largest number ever convicted in a single murder in the city.Alston was the second person arrested and at the time gave police a detailed statement that led to the ar-rests of eight other persons.Although Alston was not willing to fully cooperate with the government for a long time after his arrest, Gorentold the judge that he assisted the government in other ways, including secretly confirming the identity of aman incarcerated for Fuller's murder.Goren was worried that they might have arrested the wrong man when they picked up Darryl Murchison,named by Alston in his statement, because a detective told Goren that there was another man in the neigh-borhood with a very similar name who had been charged with comparable acts. Goren said Alston looked ata group of photographs and confirmed the identity of Murchison, who later was released from jail after agrand jury declined to indict him.Alston's last-minute decision to testify against the other defendants represented a great boon to prosecutorsand police officers who feared that the jury might discredit the eyewitness account of another cooperatingdefendant, Harry Bennett, and find the remaining evidence weak. During his testimony, Alston substantiallycorroborated the account of Bennett, who was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of eight years in prison.