You are here

Justice News

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

District Man Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison For Killing Man After Home Invasion

Defendant Broke Into Victim's Residence in Northwest Washington

WASHINGTON – Joseph Jennings, Jr., 36, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 24 years in prison for killing a man this year after breaking into his condominium in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.


            Jennings pled guilty in October 2016, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. He was sentenced by the Honorable Michael Ryan. Following his prison term, he will be placed on five years of supervised release.


            According to the government’s evidence, Jennings spent the early morning of Jan. 22, 2016 getting high at his residence in Southeast Washington. Later that morning, according to the government’s evidence, Jennings joined with two other men in a plan to break into a condominium in the 400 block of M Street NW and steal marijuana. At about 9:48 a.m., Jennings used an object to forcibly pry open the locked front door to the building. One of his accomplices waited nearby, while Jennings and the other man continued inside. As they attempted to gain entry to the unit through a sliding glass balcony door, the victim, Matthew Shevlin, fled out of the front door and began screaming for help.


            Jennings chased Mr. Shevlin, and a struggle ensued before Mr. Shevlin got away. The other man, meanwhile, took a mason jar of marijuana from the apartment. Mr. Shevlin threw a flower pot at the man’s head and got into a second struggle with Jennings. During this struggle, Jennings shot Mr. Shevlin, 37, who later died of multiple gunshot wounds.


          In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate James Brennan and Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Sharon Newman. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Misler, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 16, 2016