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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 34 Years for Murder of 15-Year-Old Boy

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

           WASHINGTON – Derryck Decuir, 26, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced yesterday to 34 years in prison for the 2015 murder of Ballou High School student Malek Mercer, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

           Decuir was found guilty by a jury in May 2019, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, following a jury trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to second-degree murder while armed with an enhancement for committing a crime against a minor, and related firearms offenses. He was sentenced by the Honorable Craig Iscoe on July 23, 2019, to 34 years in prison, concurrent to the time imposed by Judge Puig-Lugo for the obstruction of justice. 

           According to the government’s evidence, on June 16, 2015, at approximately 12:20 a.m., Decuir and Mr. Mercer, who did not know one another, found themselves at the same bus stop at L’Enfant Square. One of Decuir’s friends teased Decuir for looking at and commenting on Mr. Mercer’s belt, and Mr. Mercer snickered at Decuir. After riding the bus together for about 10 minutes, Decuir followed Mr. Mercer off the bus and, without saying anything, shot him once in the back of the neck. Decuir then fled from the area. MPD officers responding to a 911 call, found Mr. Mercer lying in the grass on the corner of 28th Street and Naylor Road, SE. Mr. Mercer suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and was bleeding profusely. He was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where he died on June 19, 2015.  Decuir was arrested pursuant to a warrant on that same day and has been held in custody ever since.

           In 2017, Decuir was convicted of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Obstruction of Justice. The obstruction charge was based on Decuir making phone calls from the jail to ask his friend to relocate the murder weapon out of his backyard so that the police would not find it. Despite those efforts, MPD officers located the murder weapon about a year later, and analysts with the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences linked that weapon to the shooting of Mr. Mercer.

           In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of those investigating the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Metro Transit Police Department, the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Misler and Nicholas Coleman; Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington; Victim/Witness Services Coordinator La June Thames; Victim/Witness Program Specialist Lesley Slade; Supervisory Security Specialist Laverne Perry; Contract Specialist Sallie Rynas; Administrative Services Specialist Karen Lee-Putt; Supervisory Paralegal Sharon Newman; Paralegals Kelly Blakeney and Debra Joyner; Criminal Investigators Durand Odom and Melissa Matthews; Victim Advocate Marcia Rinker; Supervisory IT Specialist Leif Hickling; and Investigative Analyst Zach McMenamin.

           Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Anwar Graves, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Updated July 25, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-121