FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 6, 2012
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 22-Year Prison Term
For Armed Robbery of His Grandparents
-Defendant and Two Accomplices Wore Masks During the Attack-
WASHINGTON – Riley Mercer, 40, of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to a 22-year prison term for the armed robbery of his elderly grandparents, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today.
Mercer was found guilty by a jury in June 2012, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, on charges of conspiracy, burglary while armed, kidnapping while armed, armed robbery of a senior citizen and related weapons offenses. He was sentenced on Dec. 5, 2012 by the Honorable Patricia A. Broderick. Upon completion of his prison term, Mercer will be placed on five years of supervised release.
The government’s evidence at trial established that Mercer had come to live with his grandparents, who are in their 70s, in 2010 at their home in Northeast Washington. While there, the victims gave Mercer a key to their home and a job with their security company. During his employment, Mercer learned that the victims kept cash for their employees’ payroll in a safe in their bedroom closet and that his grandmother was the only person with the combination.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2011, Mercer, along with two individuals who have never been identified, entered the home, using Mercer’s key to gain entry. The men went directly to the grandparents’ room, where they pointed guns at the victims. One of the men went directly to Mercer’s grandmother and led her to the closet, where the safe was kept. When the male threatened to shoot the grandmother because she was not moving quickly enough for him, the victim heard Mercer’s voice say, “Don’t hurt her.” The men wore masks over their faces, but the victim was certain it was her grandson’s voice. The men left after retrieving approximately $15,000 in cash from the safe, leaving the victims tied and bound on their bed. The victims’ eldest daughter eventually heard them crying for help and untied them.
At the defendant’s sentencing, Judge Broderick noted the horrific nature of the crime and how frightening the ordeal had been for the victims.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the Metropolitan Police Department for its work on the investigation and trial. He also commended the efforts of employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office who worked on the case, including Paralegal Assistant Kalisha Johnson-Clark, Litigation Technology Specialists Leif Hickling, Thomas Royal, Paul Howell and William Henderson, and Jennifer Clark of the Victim Assistance Unit. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Woodruff, who assisted in the investigation, and Michelle Bradford, who indicted and tried the case.