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Press Release

District Man Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder for Stabbing of a Man in Northwest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Attacked Several People in One Day, including Two Attacks on the Same Victim

            WASHINGTON – Joseph Melton, 55, of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty on March 25, 2024, to second degree murder while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon (knife) for stabbing a man, on January 14, 2020, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Chief Pamela Smith, of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).  Superior Court Judge Michael O’Keefe scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 14, 2024. 

            According to the government’s evidence, around 9:10 a.m. on January 14, 2020, Melton approached his first victim in the 1800 block of Connecticut Ave. NW. The victim was approached by Melton, on foot, whom he recognized from college, thirty years ago, but did not know the defendant’s name. As they encountered each other, Melton stated, “do you want me to kill you in a church,” to which the victim asked who he was, and at which point, the defendant pulled out a knife from his pants pocket and attempted to stab him. He was able to escape that attack and Melton fled the scene.

            Later that same day, at approximately 12:33 p.m., another victim encountered Melton in the 800 block of Vermont Ave., NW. This time Melton stabbed the victim in a vicious attack. When officers arrived at the scene, the victim was able to provide the name of his attacker before he lost consciousness. He was transported to a local hospital and has since recovered from his injuries.

            At 2:33 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 2400 block of Virginia Ave., NW, where a man, the same victim who had been attacked by Melton earlier this day, was found suffering from multiple stab wounds to his body. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

            This case was investigated by the Homicide Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman.

Updated March 29, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-275