District Man Sentenced to 29 Years in Prison for Murder and Drug Offenses
Defendant Admitted Fatally Shooting Man in Broad Daylight in Southeast Washington
WASHINGTON – Malik Hough, 22, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 29 years in prison on murder and narcotics charges, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced.
Hough pled guilty in November 2017, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of second-degree murder while armed with a firearm and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance while armed with a firearm. The plea agreement, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for an agreed-upon sentence between 17 and 29 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. The Honorable Judith Bartnoff accepted the plea and sentenced the defendant to the upper end of the agreed range, in accordance with the Government’s recommendation.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Bartnoff called Hough’s actions “inexplicable” and noted that he was on pretrial release for the drug case when he committed the murder. She also noted that there was no justification for the defendant’s actions and that the victim was shot in the back. She added: “What we can’t have in this city is people who have a beef with each other shooting each other. There has to be another way.”
According to the government’s evidence, on Nov. 19, 2016, at approximately 8:20 p.m., Hough took off in unprovoked flight, on foot, from several officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) near the 900 block of Varney Street SE. The officers apprehended him in the rear alley of the 900 block of Varney Street SE a few minutes later. Officers canvassed the area and found two items on the ground nearby: a 9mm firearm, loaded with a single round, and a 9mm magazine loaded with 11 rounds of ammunition. DNA testing on the firearm showed that Hough’s DNA was on the firearm. Officers also recovered from Hough’s person on the scene numerous, empty, small baggies. A subsequent search at the Seventh District Station, and testing by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, revealed that Hough had 6.8 grams of cocaine on him as well. During his plea, Hough acknowledged possessing the firearm, the empty zips, and the cocaine at the same time, and admitted that he intended to distribute the cocaine.
After being arrested for those offenses on Nov. 19, 2016, and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hough was released by the Court on Nov. 23, 2016, with conditions including that he wear a GPS tracking anklet and not possess any firearms.
The murder took place roughly a month later. At approximately 1:20 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2016, Herbert Dowtin, 22, was walking in the 800 block of Xenia Street SE. Hough, who knew Mr. Dowtin and had previously argued with him, walked up behind Mr. Dowtin and fired 10 shots at him, hitting him eight times. These gunshot wounds caused the death of Mr. Dowtin later that day. Hough then fled, discarding the 9mm firearm under some black fabric fencing approximately two blocks away. The firearm was recovered with the assistance of a gun dog and later was ballistically matched to the shell casings found at the scene. DNA testing on the firearm showed that the defendant was one of the people whose DNA was on the firearm. Hough was wearing his pretrial GPS anklet at the time of the murder, but later cut that anklet off in an attempt to evade prosecution. Hough was arrested on Jan. 6, 2017, and has been in custody ever since.
During his plea, Hough acknowledged that Mr. Dowtin was unarmed when he shot him and that Hough was not acting in self-defense.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu commended the work of the detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division Homicide Branch, crime scene officers, the Seventh Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. She also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Allen and Witness Security Specialist Debra Cannon of the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit; Paralegal Specialist Stephanie Siegerist; and former Intern Julia Banegas. Finally, she commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Bruckmann and Marybeth Manfreda, who investigated and prosecuted the cases.