[email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – An appeals court has upheld the attempted-murder conviction of a Lancaster man who was sentenced to 129 years in prison for shooting a man and a woman in front of Antelope Valley High School. The Second District Court of Appeal rejected Tajiddin Carter’s argument that the judge erred when admitting into evidence statements made to deputies and at a preliminary hearing by victim Don Simmons, who couldn’t be found to testify at the trial. “In the face of this other highly incriminating evidence, any error in admitting Simmons’ preliminary hearing testimony and out-of-court statements to police was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt,” the ruling said. In January 2004, Nica Chaney and Simmons were approached by a man on a bicycle, who spoke to them briefly before pulling out a gun and firing several shots, hitting both of them, the ruling said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmatesThe victims initially identified Carter as the shooter but later recanted. The defense argued that a lack of fingerprints on the shell casings and lack of gunshot residue on Carter’s hands showed he did not fire the shots. Carter contended that the judge made a mistake when she let Simmons’ preliminary hearing testimony be read during the trial, and let deputies give their accounts of what they said he told them. Carter contended the judge erred in deciding that the prosecution had exercised due diligence to find Simmons. The three-judge appellate panel, however, found the prosecution began to search for Simmons before the preliminary hearing, during which he testified that Carter hadn’t shot him, and made reasonable efforts to find him before the trial. Carter was convicted in 2005 of two counts of attempted murder, bribery of a witness and dissuading a witness. He was a “three strikes, you’re out” convict with prior convictions for attempted robbery in 1999 and 2000. A detective testified at trial that when he spoke to Simmons on the day of the shooting, Simmons told him that Carter was the shooter and that Carter had accused him a few days earlier of stealing drugs. The detective also testified that Simmons said he had received threatening phone calls from Carter and that Carter had offered him money to drop the charges.