District Man Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Murdering 16-Year-Old In Northwest WashingtonVictim, A Student At Roosevelt High School, Was Walking With The Defendant And Friends When The Defendant Suddenly Shot And Killed Him
WASHINGTON – Raymond Roseboro, 23, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for first-degree premeditated murder while armed and related weapons charges in the slaying of a 16-year-old boy, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Roseboro was found guilty by a jury in February 2013, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Two previous trials, in March and September of 2012, had resulted in hung juries. During the trial this year, the government presented additional evidence.
In sentencing Roseboro, the Honorable Russell F. Canan described the murder as a “senseless and cowardly killing” in which the defendant essentially “lured” the victim, Prince Okorie, to his death. The judge also ordered that, upon completion of his prison term, Roseboro will be placed on five years of supervised release.
According to the government's evidence presented at trial, the homicide occurred just before 4:25 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2010, near the intersection of Delafield Place and 8th Street NW, near the Sherman Circle area. Mr. Okorie was a student at Roosevelt Senior High School, along with the defendant and other witnesses.
Sometime after school let out at 3:15 p.m., Mr. Okorie and other teenagers were standing on a nearby neighborhood porch when Roseboro and Roseboro’s girlfriend walked by, heading towards the direction of the defendant’s nearby home. Mr. Okorie and some of his friends then left that porch and headed toward another home near the intersection of 7th and Emerson Streets NW, which was a frequent hangout among teenagers.
Soon thereafter, Roseboro appeared and asked Mr. Okorie to walk to the store with him. Two of Mr. Okorie’s friends joined them. As the group of four began walking to a nearby store, one of them had a quick conversation with a parent before rejoining the group along their walk. That parent recognized the defendant’s face as being among the young men who were walking with Mr. Okorie, and later selected Roseboro from a photo array.
The group continued walking along. There were no signs of animosity or tension, and Roseboro revealed only a calm exterior. Suddenly, just as the group had turned onto Delafield Place, shots rang out. One of Mr. Okorie’s friends in the group heard the shots and saw the victim falling; this friend ran off, his ears ringing. A second of Mr. Okorie’s friends, whose ears were also ringing and who had been distracted at seeing an adult across the street doing something with trash, heard a gunshot and looked to see Mr. Okorie lying on the ground. When that second friend looked up, he saw the defendant standing near Mr. Okorie with a gun in his hand and a mean “mug” on his face. The second friend then ran away, north on 8th Street, and heard additional shots as he ran from the scene.
Meanwhile, the adult across the street looked over at some point after the first shot and saw the victim lying on the ground and the shooter standing over him, firing at the victim with a gun in his hand. The adult was not able to recognize or identify the shooter, but did notice that the gunman had a hairstyle that consisted of short twists or dreads, and that the shooter ran into an alley that pointed in a southeasterly direction. The adult was also certain that the gunman had been walking among the group that was with the victim before the shooting.
Additional evidence revealed that Roseboro was the only one in the group with the hairstyle described by the adult. In addition, the direction of the alley that the shooter was seen running into pointed towards Roseboro’s home, which was a short walk from the murder scene. Autopsy evidence revealed that the shooting was at close range, consistent with witness accounts. Firearms evidence was also consistent with the witness accounts of there being one shooter, as the three .45 caliber casings that were recovered from the scene were fired from the same gun.
The government also presented evidence at trial that Roseboro was seen not long after the murder at his home, where he attended a meeting with a job counselor who arrived at the residence no earlier than 5:13 p.m.. The defendant’s demeanor at that meeting was as calm and relaxed as witnesses had reported his demeanor just seconds before the shooting.
As at previous trials, in the most recent trial Roseboro took the witness stand and contended that he had walked home after school with his girlfriend and remained with her at his home during the entire time period until the job counselor arrived. The defense also relied on the testimony of two of Roseboro’s relatives, the defendant’s mother and his cousin, to argue that the defendant had arrived home and stayed at home with his girlfriend during this entire time period.
In addition, the defendant himself denied even knowing the faces of Mr. Okorie’s friends who were with the victim at the time of his murder, claiming that was the case even after hearing their names during jury selection and then seeing them when they took the stand at the first trial. Roseboro also denied ever having hung out near the porch where Mr. Okorie and his friends were before the shooter walked up and asked Mr. Okorie to come along with him to the store. Roseboro did acknowledge that the murder scene was a five- or ten-minute walk from his home.
At the most recent trial, the government presented rebuttal witnesses. The first, who had been called by the defense and had testified similarly at the last trial, testified that the defendant, Mr. Okorie, and Mr. Okorie’s friends did indeed know one another and were all friends, and had all hung out together on previous occasions. The witness also testified that Roseboro had been hanging out with the others near 7th and Emerson Streets on prior occasions before Mr. Okorie’s murder.
The second was Roseboro’s girlfriend at the time of the murder, who was then 16 years old. Her testimony conflicted with that of the defendant and his relatives. The girlfriend’s account – and the defendant’s cellphone records -- refuted his contention that he was snuggling with her on the living room couch, and being watched by his mother, at the time of the murder.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the Metropolitan Police Department, including homicide detectives, mobile crime officers, and firearms examiners, as well as the work of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia. Mr. Machen also thanked the records custodian office for Sprint. U.S. Attorney Machen additionally commended the efforts of those who assisted with the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Marian Russell, Starla Stolk, Diana-Maria Laventure, Brendan Tracz, and Phaylyn Hunt; Marcey Rinker and Shawn Slade of the Victim Witness Assistant Unit; and Joseph Calvarese and Anisha Bhatia of the Litigation Services Unit. He additionally thanked librarians Lisa Kosow and Abbie Blankman, and Victim/Witness Service Coordinator La June Thames.
Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Gripkey, who indicted and tried the case each of the three times.