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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison For Striking His Brother-In-Law in the Head with a Lug Wrench

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Victim Was Hit So Hard That the Lug Wrench Broke In Two Pieces

            WASHINGTON – Keith Johnson, 49, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for an attack in which he hit his brother-in-law in the head with a lug wrench, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu.

            Johnson was found guilty by a jury in August 2018 of charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with significant bodily injury while armed. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable José M. López. Following his prison term, he will be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, in the early morning hours of Jan. 10, 2018, Johnson’s wife was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, in the 4300 block of Wheeler Road SE. Johnson went to the residence to take his wife home. When his wife refused to leave with him, Johnson became irate. The brother-in-law, 56, intervened and asked Johnson to leave.

            A fight ensued, which culminated in Johnson pulling his brother-in-law by his ankles down two flights of stairs. With his brother-in-law in and out of consciousness at the bottom of the stairs, Johnson went to his car, retrieved a steel lug wrench, and returned to strike him over the head with the lug wrench. He hit him with such force that the lug wrench broke into two pieces. Johnson fled and was arrested during a traffic stop a few minutes later. His brother-in-law suffered a 4 ½-inch gash across the top of his head, which required surgical staples to close.

            While he was on release and this case was pending, Johnson was arrested and charged with threats in a separate matter.  He allegedly used the charging document in this case to threaten a couple. Johnson has remained detained since his arrest in the threats matter.

          In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. She also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis Manzo and Kristina Wolf; Appellate Division Deputy Chief Nicholas Coleman; Victim/Witness Advocate Elsa Maltese; Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation;  Forensic Operation/Program Specialist Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie; Litigation Technology Supervisor Jeanie Latimore-Brown; Paralegal Specialists Tiffany Jones and Brenda Williams; Criminal Investigator Tommy Miller, and Interns Megan Hughes, Alexa Perlmutter, and Jill Rogowski.

             Finally, she commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer B. Loeb and Amy Joy Thomas, who prosecuted the case at trial.


Updated February 6, 2019

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 19-8