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Press Release

District Man Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For Slaying Of Northeast Washington Deli Owner-DNA Linked The Defendant To The Crime Scene-

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

     WASHINGTON – Steven Williams, 47, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for the June 2012 slaying of Hae Soon Lim, the owner of a Northeast Washington delicatessen, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

     Williams pled guilty to a charge of second-degree murder while armed in April 2013 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert E. Morin. Upon completion of his prison term, Williams will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, Ms. Lim, 64, was found by police on June 14, 2012, at about 6:15 a.m., on the floor of her delicatessen, Grace’s Deli, in the 700 block of H Street NE. Her vehicle was found parked directly outside. An autopsy determined that Ms. Lim died from a single gunshot wound that entered through the back of her neck.

     The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has a crime surveillance camera located a block away from the delicatessen at 8th and H Streets NE. A review of the video from the camera showed that a vehicle consistent with the appearance of the vehicle belonging to Ms. Lim pulled up and parked in front of the deli at about 5:25 a.m. on June 14, 2012. The video also shows a single person, believed to be the victim, leaving the vehicle and walking toward the restaurant.

     The video then shows, moments later, a single person crossing H Street rapidly on foot, moving toward the front entrance of the restaurant, where that person then proceeds to interact in close proximity with the person believed to be Ms. Lim.

     An empty, brown handgun holster was found on the floor directly next to Ms. Lim’s body. DNA from that holster revealed a match to the defendant. Williams’s DNA was also recovered from an empty cash register located inside the restaurant, behind the counter and out of reach from the customer area.

     The store never opened that morning and has been shuttered ever since. Williams, an occasional customer at the store who had previously met Ms. Lim, was charged with the murder in November 2012. He has previously been convicted of other violent crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, and two instances of robbery with a deadly weapon.

     “With a single gunshot, this career criminal senselessly executed a beloved deli owner,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Thankfully, DNA allowed us to connect this killer to the crime scene, driving him to accept responsibility for his brutal crime.  We can only hope that this lengthy prison sentence brings some measure of comfort to Ms. Lim’s family and others who loved her.”

     “This was a horrific crime against an innocent victim,” said Police Chief Lanier. “A combination of the use of technology, forensics, and diligent investigative work of our detectives led to the closure of this case. It is our hope that this sentencing brings some comfort to the Lim family.”

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier praised the work of those who investigated the case for the MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the work performed by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences. Finally, they commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. Liebman and Justin Dillon, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.


Updated February 19, 2015