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Justice News

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

District Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison For Stabbing Death of Ex-Girlfriend

Victim Was Holding Baby at Time of Stabbing

            WASHINGTON - Larry Fearn, 35, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 22 years in prison for the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, who was holding their infant child at the time of her death last September, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced.

            Fearn pled guilty in January 2018, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for a sentence of 22 years in prison. The Honorable Juliet McKenna accepted the plea and sentenced Fearn accordingly. Following completion of his prison term, Fearn will be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, at approximately 9:50 a.m., officers with the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Seventh District were dispatched to an apartment in the 3000 block of 30th Street SE for the report of a domestic violence assault. Upon their arrival, officers observed an apparent pool of blood in front of the apartment building door. After opening the building’s front door, officers discovered the victim, Paula Coles, 31, lying on her back inside the front door entrance of the building and suffering from apparent stab wounds to the right side of her face, her chin, her left breast, and above her rear right shoulder. Also located was a baby who was covered in Ms. Coles’s blood and had sustained a cut on his hand requiring stitches. The baby, who was approximately 11 months old at the time of the stabbing, was learned to be the child of Fearn and Ms. Coles, and he was in the arms of Ms. Coles during the stabbing.

            The District of Columbia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services attempted life-saving measures, but Ms. Coles was pronounced dead soon after their arrival. An autopsy by the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later identified 10 different wounds about her face, neck, thorax, and her right upper arm and shoulder.

            The government’s investigation revealed that Fearn and Ms. Coles had at one point been in a romantic relationship and that Ms. Coles had a history of domestic -related calls for service involving the defendant. In July of 2017, Fearn had been arrested for assaulting Ms. Coles, their child, and another individual. The following day, he was arrested again for violating a stay-away order issued by the Court. Both of these incidents occurred at Ms. Coles’s residence.

            Fearn pled guilty on Aug. 17, 2017, to attempted second-degree cruelty to children and simple assault. He was sentenced the same day to serve 75 days of incarceration. He was released on Sept. 15, 2017. As condition of his probation, he was ordered to stay away from Ms. Coles. However, following his release, he returned to her residence and began residing there.

            Less than 12 hours before the murder, on Sept. 26, 2017, Ms. Coles called 911 to report an argument had erupted between Fearn and an individual with whom she was now romantically involved. Evidence showed that Fearn fled the scene after Ms. Coles called 911. He continued to call her throughout the night, however, and several witnesses overheard him telling Ms. Coles that he would kill her.

            The following morning, at approximately 9 a.m., after Ms. Coles had dropped her older children off at school, the evidence showed that she returned to her apartment to find that Fearn had returned. She notified her current boyfriend that Fearn was in her unit and requested, via text, that he call the police for her. At some point, he called Ms. Coles back, but all he could hear was a scream and a thump before the phone cut off. He then called other neighbors in the building, who informed him that Ms. Coles had been stabbed and was laying in the hallway of the building. Several neighbors then saw Fearn running from the entrance way of the building.

            Fearn was arrested on Sept. 28, 2017, and has remained in custody ever since.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu expressed appreciation for the work of the Metropolitan Police Department, the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service. She also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Office of the Medical Examiner, the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, and the Safe Shores – D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center.

            U.S. Attorney Liu acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura R. Bach and Michelle D. Jackson, Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker, and Paralegal Specialists Alesha Matthews and Lornce Applewhite. Finally, she expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Merikas, who prosecuted the case.


Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated April 20, 2018