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Friday, June 22, 2012

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Maryland Man Sentenced to 22-Year Prison Term
For Murder Last Fall Outside Dupont Circle Nightclub
- Opened Fire After Trouble at Club, Targeting Victim by Mistake -

     WASHINGTON - Brandon Terry, 30, of Riverdale, Maryland, was sentenced today to 22 years of imprisonment for killing a man last fall outside a nightclub in Dupont Circle, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Terry pled guilty earlier this month in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of second-degree murder while armed and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in the slaying of Jhonte Coleman and the wounding of two other men. Under terms of the plea agreement, the government and the defendant agreed that a 22-year sentence was appropriate. The Honorable Ronna L. Beck approved the plea agreement and sentenced the defendant today.

     According to the government's evidence, on the evening of Saturday Nov. 26, 2011, into the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, an event called “Black Out” – an after-Thanksgiving Day party – was held at the Heritage India Brasserie and Lounge in the 1300 block of Connecticut Avenue NW. Terry attended the event that night, along with several of his associates from the Riverdale area of Prince George's County, Maryland.

     During the party, physical altercations broke out in the club, prompting management and security to shut it down early, at about 2:20 a.m. Patrons then spilled onto the streets. After the establishment was emptied, the physical altercations continued on the sidewalk of Connecticut Avenue in front of the Heritage India club. Terry was involved in one of these altercations, and during a break in the action, he left to retrieve a firearm from one of his associates.

     In the meantime, Mr. Coleman, 34, and a friend exited the club and walked across the street to escape the melee. Mr. Coleman and his friend, who had not been involved in the physical altercations inside or outside of the club, crossed the median of Connecticut Avenue. Terry, mistakenly believing them to have been involved with the people that had assaulted him, approached the two men with a pistol and shot them repeatedly. A third man was also struck by the gunfire. Mr. Coleman was pronounced dead that morning; the others survived the attack.

     Terry was arrested on Feb. 13, 2012. Almost immediately following his arrest, he indicated that he was remorseful for his crimes and wished to plead guilty.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the Metropolitan Police Department. U.S. Attorney Machen also expressed appreciation to Paralegal Phaylyn Hunt, Witness Advocate Tamara Ince, and Witness Security Specialist Laverne Forrest, all of whom were instrumental in working with the victims in this case and preparing the case for trial.

     Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melinda A. Williams and Christopher Kavanaugh, who investigated and prosecuted the case.





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