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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Shooting Took Place at Northwest Washington Park

District Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

For Killing Man Following Brief Argument Over Beer

Shooting Took Place at Northwest Washington Park


            WASHINGTON - James Johnson, 32, of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting a man last year at a park in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today.

            Johnson pled guilty in November 2014, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to voluntary manslaughter while armed for the death of Talbert Bright.  The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for a prison term of 15 years. The Honorable John Ramsey Johnson accepted the plea on March 13, 2015, and sentenced Johnson accordingly.  Upon completion of his prison term, Johnson is to be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, in the early morning hours of June 28, 2014,   Johnson was in a small park in the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW, drinking beer with other individuals who had come there for a social gathering. Johnson had a small cooler filled with several cans of beer.  Mr. Bright, 48, who had been in the park earlier that evening but had left to go home, returned to the park at about 2:45 a.m.

            Shortly after Mr. Bright arrived, he and Johnson engaged in a brief verbal argument over beer.  Mr. Bright took sneakers out of his duffel bag to change into from the sandals he had on his feet.  While Mr. Bright changed into his sneakers, Johnson reached into a black backpack and took out a .9 mm pistol, pointed the gun at Mr. Bright, and fired several times.  Mr. Bright was hit three times, once in the center of his chest.  He was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division, crime scene officers, and the First Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department.  He also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Allen and Paralegal Specialist Lashone Samuels. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard DiZinno, who prosecuted the case.


Updated March 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-048