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Press Release

District Man Pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder For Hit and Run Fatality in Downtown Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Driver Struck Pedestrian, Who Was Walking on Sidewalk, After Altercation

            WASHINGTON – Morris Harley, 37, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to second degree murder on Friday stemming from a road rage incident where he struck and killed a pedestrian following a verbal altercation, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).  

            Harley pled guilty on May 31, 2019, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  The plea calls for a sentence of 15 years in prison. He will be sentenced by the Honorable Juliet McKenna on August 9, 2019.

            According to a proffer of facts submitted at the plea hearing, the fatal hit and run took place at approximately 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at the intersection of 4th and T Streets NW. The victim, Daniel Olaya, was walking on the sidewalk of T Street with two others, when Harley, who was driving a Toyota RAV4, drove past and exchanged words with the group.  Nearby surveillance video captured footage of a verbal altercation between Harley and Mr. Olaya after Harley stopped and got out of the idling vehicle on T Street. Harley can be heard threatening Mr. Olaya after Mr. Olaya took a cell phone photograph of the RAV4’s license plate on the video. As Mr. Olaya attempted to walk away, the video shows Harley get into the idling RAV4, and speeding toward Mr. Olaya, and striking him. The video also shows Harley speed away out of the camera’s view after turning onto 4th Street.  MPD detectives later identified the striking vehicle from the photo of the license plate taken by Mr. Olaya.  The vehicle was later located parked nearby at the residence of Harley’s girlfriend, bearing different license plates. 

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of the officers and detectives who investigated the case from both the Major Crash Investigations Unit and the Criminal Investigations Division Homicide Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department.  They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Forensic Examiner John Marsh; Paralegal Specialist Stephanie Siegerist and Victim/Witness Advocate Marcy Rinker. 

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward A. O’Connell, who prosecuted the matter.

Updated June 4, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-082