FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 29, 2011
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District Man Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Assault While Armed
In Recent Shooting in Southeast Washington
- Shot Victim in the Neck After She Refused to Turn Over Money
WASHINGTON - Darryl Willard, 20, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a felony charge stemming from a recent attack in which he shot a transgender woman in the neck in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Willard pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to a charge of aggravated assault while armed. The Honorable Ann O’Regan Keary scheduled sentencing for December 6, 2011. Because the defendant used a firearm while committing the offense, the charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. Under the court’s voluntary sentencing guidelines, Willard would face up to 10 years in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, on September 12, 2011, at about 2 a.m., the 26-year-old victim picked up Willard in her car in the area of 22nd and Savannah Streets SE. The victim had known the defendant for about a year and a half. The victim declined the defendant’s request to engage in oral sex. Willard then got out of the car at 23rd and Savannah Streets, pointed a gun in the victim’s face and stated, “Give me what you got. Where’s your money at?”
When the victim refused to turn over her money, Willard fired a single shot at her from close range. The shot hit her in the right side of her neck, punctured both of her lungs, and lodged near her heart, where it remains. The defendant turned himself in to police the following day and has been in custody ever since.
The victim was hospitalized after the attack. She continues to have trouble breathing and bears permanent scars as a result of the shooting and the medical treatment it necessitated.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised those who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including Detective Dan Lewis of the Seventh District. He also praised those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Michael Hailey, Jennifer Clark and Tanya Via of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit. He also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Dillon, from the Seventh District Unit of the Superior Court Felony Major Crimes Section, who prosecuted the case.