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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 23, 2012

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(202) 252-6933
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District Man Sentenced to 36 ½ Years in Prison
In 2010 Slaying of Teenager
- Victim Had Worked as an Intern for D.C. Council Member -

     WASHINGTON - Omare Cotton, 30, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 36 ½ years in prison on charges stemming from the killing of a teenager who once worked as an intern for a District of Columbia Council member, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Cotton was convicted by a jury in December 2011 of charges of second-degree murder while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, threats, destruction of property, and various weapons offenses. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Cotton was sentenced by the Honorable Gerald I. Fisher. Upon completion of his prison term, Cotton will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, Cotton got into an argument on May 7, 2010 with the victim, Alonte Sutton, 18, over the victim’s refusal to give the defendant’s girlfriend a ride to work. The argument, in the 200 block of Newcomb Street SE, where the defendant resided, escalated when Cotton slashed the tires on Mr. Sutton’s car and chased him with a knife. The trouble only ended for the night when Mr. Sutton flagged down a passing police car. The defendant, who was on parole at the time for an armed robbery in Maryland, fled from the police.

     Cotton began looking for Mr. Sutton the following morning because he remained irate. Not realizing the danger he was in, Mr. Sutton returned the next morning with his girlfriend to change the tires on his vehicle. Cotton returned as well and resumed the physical confrontation. At one point, Cotton threatened and chased Mr. Sutton’s girlfriend with a tire iron. After she fled in her vehicle, Cotton also left to retrieve a handgun.

     Upon his return minutes later, Cotton shot at Mr. Sutton and then chased him into the woods located adjacent to that street. Then, as Mr. Sutton cowered in fear, Cotton proceeded to shoot him five times. There were no witnesses to the murder of the teenager, who had once worked as an intern for Council member Michael A. Brown. Cotton fled the scene, changed his appearance, and took steps to hide the gun from police detection.

     Because of the hidden location of the murder, and the lack of eyewitnesses, the victim’s body was not discovered until the following day, Mother’s Day. The defendant left no fingerprints or DNA. The murder was only solved through the outstanding investigative work of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

     “This case demonstrates the utter foolishness of a decision to respond to some perceived slight with violence,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “A stupid argument over a car ride ended with the body of an 18-year-old boy being pulled from the woods on Mother’s Day. For that unexplainably senseless crime, Omare Cotton will spend the next 36 ½ years in prison.”

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the efforts of those who worked on the case from the MPD, including Detectives John Bolden, Michael Fulton, Douglas Carlson, Paul Regan, Sean Caine, Anthony Paci; Officers Fred Knight, Robert Barillaro and Charlie Jones, and Technicians Natasha Pettus, Dwayne Mitchell, E.A. Hampton, Eric Coker, and Charles Egan. Mr. Machen also thanked Investigator Durand Odom of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Investigation Unit and Firearms Examiner Robert Freese. He also praised the efforts of Victim Advocate Marcia L. Rinker and Tamara Ince, and Paralegal Sandra Lane, and Litigation Technology specialist Leif Hickling. Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Magdalena Acevedo and Michael T. Truscott, who investigated and tried the case.

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