FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 25, 2012
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 20-Year Prison Term
For Killing a Man Last Year at a Gas Station
- Shot Victim at Close Range in a Random Attack -
WASHINGTON - Stephen Deon Barnes, 23, of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for the random shooting death of a man last year at a Northeast Washington gas station, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Barnes pled guilty in March 2012 to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. He was sentenced on May 23, 2012 by the Honorable Thomas J. Motley in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
According to the government’s evidence, the victim, Stephon Way, 24, was sitting in the back seat of a vehicle parked at a gas station in the 4500 block of Benning Road NE, in the early morning hours of December 10, 2011. Barnes drove into the gas station lot, parked his car, got out, and walked by Mr. Way and his friends.
At some point, Mr. Way and Barnes exchanged words. In response, Barnes walked back to his vehicle, bent over the driver's door, turned around, and walked back over to Mr. Way. Standing approximately three or four feet from Mr. Way, Barnes pulled out a loaded, .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his waistband. At almost point-blank range, Barnes fired four shots at Mr. Way and into the vehicle in which Mr. Way was sitting.
One shot hit Mr. Way in his head, killing him. A shot also hit a 17-year-old victim in the face. The teenager had said nothing to the defendant and was simply sitting in the back seat. The bullet is still lodged in the surviving victim’s jaw. Neither the teenager nor Mr. Way was armed.
Approximately two weeks later, members of the Metropolitan Police Department executed a search warrant at Barnes’s residence. During the search, officers found the murder weapon and a .223 caliber Remington semi-automatic rifle.
At his plea hearing, Barnes told the court that he shot Mr. Way because he felt “disrespected.”
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen expressed his appreciation to the detectives and others who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He also commended the work of Victim-Witness Advocate Tamara Ince, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Carlton, who investigated and prosecuted the case.