FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 27, 2012
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District Man Pleads Guilty to Murder
In 2007 Slaying in Northeast Washington
- Victim Was Slain Inside His Apartment -
WASHINGTON - Ronnell James, 39, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a charge of second degree murder while armed, with aggravating circumstances, in a slaying that took place in 2007 in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
James pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The aggravating circumstances were that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel. The Honorable Ann O’Regan Keary scheduled sentencing for April 13, 2012. James faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release.
According to the government’s evidence, on the night of April 7, 2007, a relative found the victim, Robert Beidleman Jr., 56, deceased inside his apartment in the 1800 block of Central Place NE. The government’s evidence found that Mr. Beidleman had been bound, gagged, and stabbed, all in order to get him to reveal the combination of a small safe he kept in the apartment.
The safe was found open and empty inside the apartment. James subsequently admitted to the police that he had attempted to burglarize Mr. Beidleman’s apartment on the day of the murder and stated that he had helped another person in binding the victim. No one else has been arrested in the case. Items from Mr. Beidleman’s apartment were later found by police at the defendant’s residence and at the residence of his mother.
James was arrested for the murder on November 14, 2008, and has been held without bond since that time.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the efforts of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Detective Darin March, the lead investigator; MPD Officer Curtis Lancaster, the lead crime scene technician, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, who prosecuted the case.