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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 120 Years for First-Degree Murder While Armed In Triple Homicide in Southeast Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Rakeem Willis, 31, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a total of 120 years in prison, by Superior Court Judge J. Michael Ryan, for charges stemming from the fatal shooting of three men, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. 

            A jury returned its verdict on Nov. 16, 2022, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The jury found Willis guilty of three counts of first-degree murder while armed and fleeing law enforcement.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 26, 2019, at approximately 10 p.m., Willis lured the three victims -- Sean Shuler, 26, Javon Abney, 26, and Tyrik Hagood, 24 -- to a quiet, dead-end street in the 1500 block of Fort Davis Place SE, where they were shot numerous times by gunmen. The three victims were pronounced dead at the scene. A stolen Lexus sedan used in the murders was later found burning just across the Maryland state line off of I-295. 

            Willis was arrested on June 11, 2019, after a vehicle pursuit, and has been in custody since that time.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team. They acknowledged the efforts of those who provided assistance in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Chrisellen Kolb, Chief of the Appellate Division; Lindsey Merikas, Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section; Paralegal Specialist Lashone Samuels, Lead Paralegal Specialist Tasha Harris, Supervisory Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark, Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington, Victim/Witness Coordinators LaJune Thames and Maenylie Watson, Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin, Litigation Technology Supervisor Leif Hickling, and Litigation Technology Specialist Charlie Bruce.

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Spence and Ariel Dean, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Updated February 10, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-74