FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 14, 2012
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District Man Convicted of First-Degree Murder While Armed and Assault Charges For Shooting at Group of Unarmed Young Men
- Attack Killed One, Wounded Two Others, Near a Playground in Southeast Washington -
WASHINGTON - Donnell Washington, 28, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty today of first-degree murder while armed and other charges in a shooting near a playground that killed one young man and wounded two others, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Washington also was convicted by the jury of three counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, and related gun charges. The verdicts followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for Nov. 16, 2012. Washington faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison for the murder charge alone.
The jury found that early on July 9, 2010, Washington snuck up on the victim, Stanley Dawson, Jr., 19, and three of his friends, in the 3500 block of 19th Street SE. Washington opened fire as the young men socialized near a playground.
Two shots struck Mr. Dawson in his head and back, ultimately killing him. Two bullets struck another victim in the forearm and backside, requiring surgery. A third victim sustained graze wounds to his nose and foot. The fourth victim escaped with no physical injuries.
According to the government’s evidence, the attack stemmed from a dispute five days earlier, during which Mr. Dawson took a gun away from Washington’s best friend, who was firing shots in the air on the Fourth of July at an hour when numerous children were still outside. In the days that followed, Washington hunted for Mr. Dawson, eventually finding him at the playground in the Parkland neighborhood of Southeast Washington.
“Stanley Dawson, Jr., who had just graduated from high school, was hunted down and shot to death near a neighborhood playground,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Today a District of Columbia jury found his killer guilty of first-degree murder. This verdict marks the third time this week that a D.C. jury held a murderer accountable for using a gun to take a life on the streets of our city. These guilty verdicts demonstrate our citizens’ refusal to tolerate the deadly gunplay that still plagues too many of our neighborhoods.”
The other jury verdicts, in unrelated cases, came in the trials of Eric Foreman, 18, and Charles Coates, 43, both of Washington, D.C. Foreman was convicted on Sept. 10, 2012, of first-degree premeditated murder while armed and other charges in the August 2010 slaying of Neil Godleski, 31. Coates was convicted on Sept. 12, 2012, of second-degree murder while armed and other charges in the February 2011 slaying of Eddie Leonard, Jr., 32.
In announcing the verdicts, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the efforts of all of the law enforcement officers and detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department who worked on the case. U.S. Attorney Machen also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Meredith McGarrity, who was instrumental in preparing the case for trial; Michael Hailey, Debra Cannon, and Marcia Rinker of the Witness Victim Assistance Unit, who worked with many of the witnesses in the case; Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Glenn Kirschner, Kate Rakoczy, and John Giovannelli, who indicted and tried the case.