District Man Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison For Armed Carjacking and Other Charges
One Victim, 62, Was Attacked While Delivering Newspapers; Other Victim Was Attacked While Delivering Food
WASHINGTON – Cephus Hollis, 18, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 17 years in prison on numerous charges stemming from two violent carjackings in Northeast Washington within a four-day period, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.
Hollis was found guilty by a jury in November 2015 of a total of 15 charges, including assault with intent to kill while armed, armed carjacking, and aggravated assault of a senior citizen while armed. The verdicts followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Lynn Leibovitz. Following completion of his prison term, Hollis is to be placed on five years of supervised release.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Hollis and a co-conspirator went out on the evening of Sept. 7, 2014 to steal cars in the Riggs Park neighborhood of Northeast Washington and surrounding areas. After stealing their first car that night, they used it to drive around and steal or attempt to steal numerous other cars.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 8, 2014, Hollis and the co-conspirator saw a 62-year-old man delivering copies of the Washington Post, and followed him as he did this for several stops. At one stop, in the 5800 block of Eastern Avenue NE, the newspaper delivery man got out of his car to throw a paper onto the doorstep. Hollis then got into the front seat. Hollis assumed the victim had left the keys in the ignition. The victim had not, and when he returned to the car, Hollis confronted him and demanded the keys. When the victim would not surrender the keys, Hollis punched and kicked him, and the co-conspirator joined in. They beat the victim until they broke his wrist, dislocated his shoulder, broke the orbital bones around his eye, and caused other injuries. Then, after they beat him, they took the cars he was using to make the deliveries. A few days later, that car ran out of gas and was abandoned in the middle of the street. Fingerprints recovered from it matched the defendant and the co-conspirator.
Four days later on Sept. 12, 2014, at about 5 p.m., Hollis ordered Chinese food to be delivered to his own house in the 400 block of Oneida Street NE. When the delivery driver arrived, he parked in front of the house and called Hollis, who acknowledged ordering the food. As the driver walked up to Hollis’s porch, Hollis came out of the house. Without saying anything, Hollis stabbed the driver in the head. The driver fell to the ground and Hollis kept stabbing him. The driver somehow broke free and fled to his car. He locked the door, hoping the car would keep him safe. But as he looked out the car window, he saw that Hollis had his car keys and was walking towards the car. Using the electronic key fob, Hollis unlocked the car. The driver locked the car again, smearing his own blood over the controls as he did so. Hollis, however, kept coming and unlocked the car again, got inside, and resumed stabbing the driver.
The driver got out of the car. Hollis got out, too, ran around the car, and stabbed the driver again. In total, the driver was stabbed at least seven times, including to the head, face, chest, hands, and arms. In addition to his numerous lacerations and puncture wounds, the victim sustained a partially collapsed lung. Hollis then fled in the delivery driver’s car, which was recovered the next day. DNA evidence tying Hollis to the crime was recovered from inside the car. A phone later recovered from Hollis’s pocket was shown to have placed the call ordering the food, and received the call from the delivery driver when he arrived with the food.
Hollis has been in custody in this case since his arrest in May 2015. At sentencing, prosecutors sought a significant period of incarceration, noting the gruesome nature of the attacks and pointing out that Hollis has shown no remorse for his actions.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of the detectives of the Fourth Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Special Agents from the FBI Washington Field Office’s Violent Crime Task Force. He also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Tiffany Fogle and Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie; Lead Paralegal Specialist Kwasi Fields; Paralegal Supervisors Darline Douglas and Anthony Griffith; Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington; Victim/Witness Advocate Diana Lim; Intelligence Analysts Shannon Alexis and Sharon Johnson; Information Technology Specialists Aneela Bhatia, Anisha Bhatia, Paul Howell, Claudia Gutierrez, Jeanie Latimore-Brown, William Henderson, and Leif Hickling; Criminal Investigators Nelson Rhone and Chris Brophy; Elizabeth Trosman, Chief of the Appellate Division; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Rickard and John Mannarino of the Appellate Division; and Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation. Finally, he praised the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Bruckmann and Katherine Earnest, who investigated and prosecuted the case.