FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 9, 2011
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison
For Shooting Man During Botched Robbery Attempt
- Victim Nearly Bled to Death After the Attack -
WASHINGTON — Vernon Headspeth, 21, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 13 years in prison on several felony charges stemming from the shooting of a man during a failed robbery attempt in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Headspeth was convicted by a jury in September 2011, following a two-week trial, of a total of 10 offenses related to the shooting, including charges of aggravated assault while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to rob while armed, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. He was sentenced by the Honorable William M. Jackson of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Upon completion of his prison term, Headspeth will be placed on five years of supervised release.
During the trial, the government’s evidence established that on the afternoon of December 2, 2010, Headspeth called the victim, then 28, whom he had known for several years, and asked him to meet him at a location in the 2600 block of Birney Place SE. When the victim arrived several minutes later, at about 1 p.m., the defendant called an unknown person on his cell phone and told that person to “come around the corner.” Headspeth then turned to the victim, pulled out MAC-10 submachine gun, and told the victim to give up what he had.
Instead of surrendering, the victim ran away, and the defendant fired at him as he ran. One of the shots struck the victim in the buttocks, causing internal damage and destroying 80 percent of the common femoral artery in his leg. The victim was able to run a short distance before collapsing. After almost bleeding to death, he was treated, hospitalized for almost three weeks, and forced to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage caused by the bullet.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised those who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including Detectives James B. Tyler III, Timothy Francis, Kenniss Weeks, Jacqueline Middleton, Vallient Haythorne, Cornell Johnson, Dan Lewis, and Anthony Green; Officers Matt King, Stephen Murphy, Peter Ng, and Courtney Flash; and Crime Scene Technicians Nathaniel Covington, John Allie, and Keena Vaughn. He also acknowledged the efforts of Litigation Technology Specialist Ronald Royal; Paralegal Theresa Nelson; Victim Advocate Jim Brennan; and Intelligence Research Specialists Shannon Alexis and William Hamann. Finally, he commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Dillon, from the Seventh District Unit of the Superior Court Felony Major Crimes Section, who investigated and prosecuted the case.