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Friday, July 20, 2012

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District Man Sentenced to 43 Years in Prison
For 2003 Sexual Assault in Northeast Washington
- DNA Tied Him to the Crime in 2010 -

     WASHINGTON - Shepardson Ray Blair, 48, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 43 years in prison on charges stemming from the kidnapping and sexual assault of a woman in Northeast Washington in 2003, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Blair was found guilty by a jury in May 2012, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, of charges of first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, and assault with significant injury. He was sentenced by the Honorable Ronna L. Beck. Blair also is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

     According to the government’s evidence, the victim, then 27, was walking home from Union Station at about 10 p.m. on July 14, 2003. At the time, she was a law student completing a summer internship at a non-profit in Washington D.C. She was less than two blocks from home, in the 800 block of Second Street NE, when Blair accosted her on the sidewalk, grabbed her by the neck, and choked her. Blair dragged the victim into the bushes, slammed her face into the ground, and sexually assaulted her. When the assault was over, he fled.

     The victim immediately reported the assault to police and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital, where she was treated for injuries and swabbed for DNA. The case was cold until 2010, when a DNA hit identified Blair as a suspect. Detectives with the Metropolitan Police Department obtained a search warrant from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia to collect a sample of the defendant’s DNA for comparison. When Blair’s DNA was analyzed, it matched the DNA left behind by the assailant in 2003.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended detectives from the MPD’s Sexual Assault Unit, First District patrol officers, and officers from the Forensic Science Division. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins; Paralegals Jason Manuel, Joyce Arthur, and Cynthia Muhammad; Legal Assistant Tanisha Nelson; Elizabeth Fischer of the Finance office; Intelligence Specialists Sharon Johnson and William Hamann; Victim-Witness Specialists David Foster and Katina Adams-Washington, and Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling and the entire Litigation Support Staff. Lastly, Mr. Machen thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassidy Kesler Pinegar, who investigated and indicted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky, who tried the case.





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