2009-05-08 / Top Stories

'Joker' Gets Life In North Carolina Slay

By Howard Schwach

Capers (right) during his trial. He was convicted of murder and faces life without parole. Photo courtesy of TV33, a North Carolina cable television outlet. Capers (right) during his trial. He was convicted of murder and faces life without parole. Photo courtesy of TV33, a North Carolina cable television outlet. A notorious Rockaway gangster, who once was featured on "America's Most Wanted," got dealt a first degree murder charge last week, handed down by a Cleveland County (North Carolina) jury.

Javon Capers, who was better known on Rockaway streets as the "Joker," was on trial for the 1999 murder of North Carolina resident Julian Roseboro and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The local district attorney, Bill Young, is quoted by local cable reporter Nicholas Bissett, who reports for TV33, as saying that the key in Joker's conviction was that the jury listened to all of the evidence from witnesses presented and believed them, even though most of them were felons themselves.

Bissett said that even though the trial may be over Julian Roseboro's family will never forget the night they lost their 22-year-old son to violence.

Alsona Carpenter, Julian's grandmother, told TV33 that her grandson had left her home that night to go to the store and get formula for his 22- month-old daughter.

Carpenter said that as soon as she heard the sirens she knew something was wrong and went out on her front porch to see what was happening.

"I was washing dishes when I heard all these sirens and all the noise, so I came out to my front and one of Julian's friends drove up and said that I needed to go to the hospital because he was just shot, my heart dropped."

The dead man's father, Donald Roseboro, said that his son's death resulted from him being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"He wasn't even supposed to be in the Holly Oak Apartment complex, his ride just stopped by there to see her mother while he was on the way to get formula for his daughter."

Bissett told The Wave that the trial took some surprise turns.

On April 30, Brandon Lee Wilson, one of the major witnesses against Capers, was put into a holding cell at the local jail. Also in the cell, according to Bissett, was one of Caper's friends.

Wilson spent the week on the stand giving testimony that painted Capers as the trigger man in the murder.

Court records show that a "violent altercation" between the two men took place and that investigators are trying to figure out how Wilson wound up in a cell with a friend of the man against whom he was set to testify.

Sources say that there were many anomolies involved with the trial and that prosecutors were not sure that they could get a conviction against Capers because of the question of whether or not the witnesses in the case, many of whom had criminal records themselves would be believed.

In another incident, a man reportedly approached one of the jurors in the case to get him to find for Capers.

The juror reported the incident to the judge and the jurors were warned to report any further contacts.

In late May of 2001, Capers, who was wanted both in Rockaway and in North Carolina on murder charges, was spotted in Brooklyn.

Police chased him into an apartment, where he was found hiding in a closet.

He had two guns in his possession when he was arrested, but offered no resistance, police said at the time.

Capers was convicted in Queens Criminal Court of weapons possession and assault.

On September 13, 2008, Capers walked out of a New York State prison and was immediately arrested by two police officers from North Carolina on a murder warrant.

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