FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 2, 2012
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District Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
In Daytime Attack Last Summer in Northwest Washington
- Defendant Punched Victim in Struggle Over Her Purse -
WASHINGTON - Russell Brock-Smith, 26, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for attacking a transgender woman in broad daylight in Northwest Washington last summer, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Brock-Smith was convicted by a jury in November 2011 of a charge of assault with intent to rob. He was sentenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Honorable Thomas J. Motley. This was Brock-Smith's third conviction for a crime of violence, making him eligible for the enhanced 15-year sentence that was imposed. Under legislation passed by the District of Columbia Council, chronic offenders who have three or more convictions for violent crimes face enhanced penalties, including up to life in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, on August 1, 2011, at about 5 p.m., the victim had finished a day of work and was walking in the 1400 block of Buchanan Street NW. Brock-Smith approached her and tried to pull her purse from her shoulder. When she refused to give it up, he pulled her hair, punched her in the head, and tried to pull her into a nearby alley.
The defendant fled when the victim threatened to call the police. The victim had the courage to follow the defendant and take a photo of him before calling police. The victim, who testified at trial, had lumps on her head from the beating and strands of hair falling from her head when police arrived on the scene after the attack.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of Detective Robert Schmidt and Officers Bryon Words and Krystal Cannata of the Metropolitan Police Department. He also praised the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegals Wanda Trice, Tameka Garcia and Debra Smith; Tracy Van Atta of the Litigation Technology Unit, and Intern Aglaia Ovtchinnikova. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Eaton, who investigated and indicted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bednar, who prosecuted the case at trial.