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Press Release

District Man Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Felony Murder In Christmas Day Slaying of Tricia McCauley

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Sexually Assaulted and Strangled Victim

            WASHINGTON – Duane Johnson, also known as Adrian Duane Johnson, pled guilty today to a charge of first-degree felony murder in the Christmas day slaying last year of Tricia McCauley, a stranger who he also sexually assaulted, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.


            Johnson, 30, formerly of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for an agreed-upon sentence of 30 years in prison. The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo scheduled sentencing for Nov. 17, 2017. Following his prison term, Johnson will be placed on a period of supervised release and he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


            According to a proffer of facts submitted at the plea hearing, on Dec. 25, 2016, at about 5:30 p.m., Ms. McCauley, 46, left her home in the 2000 block of North Capitol Street NW and got into her two-door Toyota Scion to drive to a holiday party at a friend’s home in Washington, D.C. On the drive to her friend’s home, Ms. McCauley encountered Johnson. He entered her vehicle and, shortly thereafter, sexually assaulted her. He attempted to restrain her and she attempted to fight him off by kicking and punching him. During this struggle, Ms. McCauley’s clothing was ripped and she suffered a fractured nose. Johnson, meanwhile, took the scarf that Ms. McCauley was wearing and used it as a ligature, tightening it around her neck muscles and causing her death. After Ms. McCauley died, Johnson took her body and put it in the back seat.


            Ms. McCauley was reported missing and a widespread search was launched to find her. The following night, Dec. 26, 2016, at about 11:20 p.m., Ms. McCauley’s car was discovered, found parked in front of a pharmacy in the 2200 block of M Street NW. Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) went inside the store and found Johnson. He had the key to Ms. McCauley’s car in his pocket. A check of the car led to the discovery of Ms. McCauley’s body. Johnson was arrested and has remained in custody ever since. In a search, police recovered several of Ms. McCauley’s credit cards in Johnson’s pocket.


            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Chief Newsham commended the work of the officers, detectives and others from the Metropolitan Police Department who investigated the case. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Park Police and the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team, and the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences. They acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Donovan; Paralegal Specialists Sharon Newman and Lornce Applewhite; Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark, and Litigation Technology Specialist William Henderson. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Misler, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Updated September 13, 2017

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 17-192