FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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District Man Sentenced to 70 Years to Life in Prison
In May 2000 Killings in Front of Eastern Senior High School
More Than 40 Shots Fired From Assault Rifles
WASHINGTON - Michael Wonson, 34, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 70 years to life in prison for first-degree murder while armed and other charges in the May 2000 slayings of two people in front of a high school, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Wonson was convicted in May 2012 of two counts of first-degree murder while armed, as well as charges of assault with intent to kill while armed, felony destruction of property, and related weapons offenses. The verdicts followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas J. Motley.
According to the evidence at trial, on May 17, 2000, at about 11:30 p.m., Charles Jackson, 21, Ivory Harrison, also 21, and more than a dozen other people were gathered near the grounds of Eastern High School, in front of the basketball and tennis courts on the north side of the 1800 block of East Capitol Street SE. Wonson and a co-conspirator drove a black Ford F-150 pickup truck, which they had purchased the previous day, looking to kill someone who had been in an altercation with Wonson at a nightclub several days earlier.
Moments before the shooting, while at a residence on 46th Place SE, the co-conspirator cleaned his weapon and Wonson’s weapon, both AK-47 style assault rifles, with WD-40. Wonson and the co-conspirator then retrieved the truck, which had been parked nearby, and drove to the 1800 block of East Capitol Street SE, where they both shot into the crowd.
More than 40 rounds were fired in the attack. One of the first shots struck Mr. Jackson in the head, killing him instantly. As she ran, Ms. Harrison, who had just completed her second year at Virginia State University, was killed when she was shot three times about her body.
Wonson and the co-conspirator then shot at a car being driven by a woman who was making a U-turn in the middle of the block. The victim, then 22, was struck in her left leg as she tried to get out of her vehicle.
After the shooting, Wonson and the co-conspirator fled the area, and returned to the residence located on 46th Place SE. Once there, the co-conspirator said to Wonson, “I don’t believe your gun jammed.” The co-conspirator subsequently drove the black pickup truck to Prince George’s County, where he set the truck on fire.
Wonson was arrested in 2000 on charges stemming from the murder. He was convicted in 2002 of charges in the murder, but the District of Columbia Court of Appeals later granted him a new trial, leading to the proceedings that led to the recent verdict.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including detectives, mobile crime technicians, a firearms examiner, and others. He also thanked the Metro Transit Police for its work on the case. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Regan Gibson and Candace Battle, Litigation Support Services Specialist Leif Hickling, Intelligence Analyst Frank Morgan and Victim Witness Specialist LaVerne Forrest.
Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emory V. Cole and Opher Shweiki, who prosecuted the case at trial.