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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 18, 2013

District Man Found Guilty Of Manslaughter While Armed And Other Charges In Stabbing In Southeast Washington-Attack Followed Argument About The Victim's Dog-

     WASHINGTON – Ellsworth Colbert, 57, was found guilty by a jury today of manslaughter while armed and other charges stemming from a slaying in Southeast Washington during an argument over the victim’s dog, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Colbert, of Washington, D.C., also was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  The Honorable Herbert B. Dixon, Jr. scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2013.  Colbert faces a maximum sentence of 45 years for the crimes.

     According to the evidence at trial, Colbert and the victim, Robert L. Wright, 37, became embroiled in an argument on the morning of March 4, 2012, in front of Colbert’s house in the 3500 block of Pope Street SE, in the Penn-Branch neighborhood. The trouble began after Mr. Wright and a friend walked their dog on Colbert’s property.  Colbert became enraged and brandished a knife and a walking stick.

     The altercation moved up the street to the house where the dog was kept, located in the 3600 block of Highwood Drive.  During the course of the argument, Colbert lunged at Mr. Wright and cut him in the neck with his knife.  Mr. Wright then retrieved a nearby shovel, and the two continued their altercation in the middle of the street.  During the course of the fracas, Colbert tackled Mr. Wright to the pavement, causing him to lose possession of the shovel.  Colbert then stabbed Mr. Wright in the back, chest and abdomen resulting in his death. 

     In announcing today’s verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including detectives, mobile crime technicians, and others.  He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Fern Rhedrick, San Lane, Phil Aronson, Kwasi Fields and Sharon Newman, Litigation Support Services Specialists Ron Royal and Josh Ellen, and Victim Advocate Tamara Ince.

     Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Feitel and Edward A. O’Connell, who prosecuted the case at trial.

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Updated February 19, 2015