District Man Pleads Guilty to Murder In Shooting in Southeast Washington
Defendant Also Pleads Guilty in Separate Attack; Crimes Took Place Within Five-Week Period
WASHINGTON - Jamil Betts, 24, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a charge of second-degree murder while armed for fatally shooting a man earlier this year in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.
Betts pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to the murder charge as well as to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon stemming from a separate, unrelated attack. The Honorable Michael Ryan scheduled sentencing for Feb. 5, 2016. The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a prison term of 20 years on both charges.
According to the government’s evidence, the murder victim, Andre McConnell, 26, was with friends in the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace SE on April 27, 2015. At around 8:30 that night, Mr. McConnell engaged in a brief verbal argument with an unidentified individual. Shortly thereafter, Betts approached Mr. McConnell and the group with whom Mr. McConnell was gathered. Betts took out a gun, aimed and fired it at Mr. McConnell, and struck Mr. McConnell twice in the lower back. A second individual also was hit with one gunshot wound to the leg. Mr. McConnell was transported to Prince George’s Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
In the second case, the government’s evidence showed, on the afternoon of May 29, 2015, Betts and another individual approached a woman and her daughter at gunpoint in the area of the 3400 block of A Street SE. Betts, holding the gun, and the other individual attempted to force their way into the woman’s apartment, which was occupied by other individuals. After realizing that the victims called 911, Betts and the other individual attempted to leave the area by car. In the process of driving away from the scene, Betts, who was seated in the front passenger side of the vehicle, aimed his gun at one of the victims outside the apartment building and fired one shot, nearly hitting the victim.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of the detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division, crime scene officers, and the Sixth and Seventh Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocates Jennifer Clark and Christina Principe; Victim/Witness Services Coordinator David Foster; Supervisor Security Specialist Michael Hailey; Victim/Witness Program Specialists Lesley Slade, Laverne Forest, and Wanda Queen; and Paralegal Specialist Lashone Samuels. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julianne Johnston and Sumit Mallick, who investigated and prosecuted the assault case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard DiZinno and Robert Eckert, who investigated and prosecuted the homicide case.