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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 19, 2019

District Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for 2016 Murder in Northwest Washington

Victim Had Hands in Air When Shot

            WASHINGTON – Bikila Kejella, 20, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 16 years in prison for killing a man in Northwest Washington in 2016, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). 

            Kejella pled guilty in August 2018, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. He was sentenced by the Honorable Juliet McKenna. Following his prison term, he will be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, just after midnight, early Sept. 12, 2016, a group of men and women were casually socializing and congregated in the parking lot area of the Garfield Terrace housing complex in the 2300 block of 11th Street NW. Kejella approached the group and struck up a conversation.  Shortly thereafter, the victim, 23-year-old lifelong D.C. resident Eric Garrett, approached the parking lot area where his car was parked. 

            Mr. Garrett was scrolling through his cell phone and walked toward the group of people at the front of the parking lot.  Kejella then walked directly toward Mr. Garrett. Kejella extended his arm and aimed his firearm at Mr. Garrett’s head.  According to witnesses, Mr. Garrett put his hands up in the air and yelled, “Wait, no, don’t.”  Kejella fired his firearm striking Mr. Garrett and Kejella fled the scene.  Mr. Garrett went into cardiac arrest and died on Sept. 18, 2016. 

            Kejella was arrested on Nov. 7, 2016, at the Red Rock Job Corps Center in Sweetwater, Pennsylvania.  He was thereafter extradited back to the District of Columbia. 

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department.  They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  They acknowledge the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office including Criminal Investigator John Marsh; Paralegal Specialist Lashone Samuels; Victim/Witness Advocates Jennifer Allen and Jennifer Clark, and Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin.

            Finally, they commend the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Santiago and Christine Macey, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
19-61
Updated April 19, 2019