You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, September 2, 2016

District Man Pleads Guilty to Series of Sexual Attacks Against Women in Southeast Washington

Defendant, Already Incarcerated for 22 Years for Similar Attacks, Faces Additional 40 Years for These Crimes

            WASHINGTON - Darius Nelson, 28, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to charges involving a series of sexual assaults in Southeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Nelson pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a prison term of 40 years. This term will run consecutively to the 22-year sentence he is currently serving for sexual assault convictions previously prosecuted by this office.  Upon release, Nelson would be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.  The Honorable José M. López scheduled sentencing for Nov. 18, 2016.

            In the earlier case, Nelson pled guilty in 2014 to sexually assaulting two women in separate attacks that took place in Southeast Washington in October of 2013. Today, Nelson pled guilty to assaulting three other women in separate incidents in 2012 and 2013.

            During today’s proceedings, Nelson admitted that late in the evening on April 11, 2012, he was walking with the first victim when he put her into a chokehold and dragged her to the rear of a residence in the 1600 block of 21st Place SE.  He threw her to the ground, punched her in the face, and sexually assaulted her.  After the sexual assault, he again physically assaulted her.

            Nelson further admitted that in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2012, the second victim was walking on Minnesota Avenue SE, near Pennsylvania Avenue, when he started a conversation with her.  During that conversation, Nelson hit her in the face and put what he told the victim was a knife to her back.  He then forced her to the rear of a gas station where he sexually assaulted her.  Afterward, he ordered her to stay on the ground and not get up, and he fled.

            Finally, Nelson admitted that late in the evening on Sept. 18, 2013, he grabbed the third victim from behind in a chokehold and forced her into an alley in the rear of the 2200 block of Nicholson Street SE.  In the alley, he robbed her, then pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.  When finished, he told her to stay down and remain still, and he fled the scene.

            The victims were all taken to Washington Hospital Center, where they each received a sexual assault examination.  Swabs taken from two of the victims during their examinations were sent to Bode Technology for DNA testing.  A male DNA profile found on the swabs was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a web of state and national databases containing DNA profiles from convicted offenders and crime scenes that is used as an investigative tool.  Nelson was identified as a suspect through a CODIS search and DNA “cold hit.”  His DNA profile had been loaded into the CODIS database following his 2014 convictions for sexually assaulting the other two women. During an interview with detectives from the MPD’s Sexual Assault Unit in November 2014, Nelson admitted to committing his crimes against the three women in the case that led to the plea today.

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Chief Lanier commended the work of the detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit.  They also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson and Paralegal Specialists Tierra Nanches, Angelina Slagle, and Wanda Trice.  Finally, they acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julianne Johnston, Jodi Lazarus, and Lindsay Suttenberg, who prosecuted the case.

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 2, 2016