District Man Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For Shooting That Killed One Man, Wounded AnotherDefendant Opened Fire On Group Of Young Men As They Walked Down Busy Public Street
WASHINGTON – Bernard Fleming, 23, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for second-degree murder while armed and other charges involving a shooting on a busy public street that killed one man and wounded another, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Fleming, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury in July 2014, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In addition to the murder charge, the jury found him guilty of two counts of assault with intent to kill and related weapons offenses. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert E. Morin.
A co-defendant, Joseph Peoples, 23, also of Washington D.C., was sentenced today to a year in prison for a weapons offense and tampering with evidence in the case.
According to the government’s evidence, Fleming shot the victims at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2012, in the 1700 block of Seventh Street NW. The gunfire killed Michael Jones, 30, and injured Mr. Jones’s brother.
Earlier in the day, Fleming got into a physical altercation with Mr. Jones’s brother. Fleming, Peoples, and a third individual then followed Mr. Jones’s brother to his home, banged on the door, threatened him, and demanded that he come outside. They left after Mr. Jones’s brother did not come outside, but returned about 90 minutes later - this time standing outside a window, and at one point shining a laser inside. Concerned for his safety, Mr. Jones’s brother called a friend and Mr. Jones. Soon after that, Mr. Jones, his brother, and two friends set out to try to find Fleming and Peoples to settle the dispute. They encountered Peoples outside an apartment building in the 1700 block of Seventh Street NW, and the shooting followed.
Peoples pulled out a gun. Fleming, who was standing on a balcony above Mr. Jones’s group, began shooting down on the victims. Ballistics evidence suggests that Fleming fired at least 11 shots at the group. Mr. Jones and his friend both took out guns and fired back in defense of themselves and the others in their group. Mr. Jones was struck in the back of the head and was killed almost immediately. Mr. Jones’s brother suffered graze wounds to his chest.
After the shooting, Peoples ran back inside the apartment building, met up with Fleming, and stashed the guns underneath a stairwell; one of the weapons was partially dismantled.
In addition to the sentences in this case, Fleming and Peoples also were sentenced today for their roles in a drug conspiracy that operated in the Shaw area during the summer of 2012. In that matter, Fleming was sentenced to three years and Peoples to 21 months in prison.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the U.S. Secret Service. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin O. Lyons and Jennifer Kerkhoff; Paralegal Specialists Alesha Matthews Yette, Fern Rhedrick and Mia Beamon; Intelligence Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling; Victim/Witness Security Specialists Michael Hailey, M. Laverne Forrest and Debra Cannon, and Victim/Witness Advocate Tamara Ince. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Vinét Bryant and Kathryn Rakoczy, who prosecuted the case.14-203