District Man Sentenced to 38 Years to Life in Prison For 2000 Slaying of Government Witness
Victim Was Kidnapped and Executed
WASHINGTON – Anthony Gray, 37, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a prison term of 38 years to life for the July 2000 murder of a government witness, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Robert D. MacLean, Chief of the United States Park Police.
Gray was found guilty on Dec. 2, 2014, of first-degree premeditated murder while armed, kidnapping, and felony murder while armed, as well as the aggravating circumstances that the murder was committed during the course of a kidnapping and was committed because the victim was a government witness. The jury verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Rhonda Reid Winston.
In sentencing the defendant, the judge declared: “The court system relies on the community to come forward. When one does that, the court takes it especially seriously if that person is murdered because of the citizen’s willingness to do what we expect of all citizens.”
According to the government’s evidence, Gray was part of a violent crew that operated in the Alabama Avenue SE area, known as “Simple City,” in the mid to late 1990s-2000s. The crew focused on selling drugs, committing violent crimes, and intimidating witnesses. Gray played an active role in the crew and committed a number of crimes on its behalf.
Specifically, in 1999, a murder was committed by two crew members in the area of Texas Avenue SE. Robert McManus, 20, was a reluctant witness to this murder. On July 5, 2000, as trial was approaching for the two crew members, Anthony Gray and another crew member kidnapped Mr. McManus from his bicycle for the purpose of preventing him from testifying at the trial. After kidnapping Mr. McManus, Gray and the other crew member drove him to the 4800 block of E Street SE, marched Mr. McManus into the woods, and shot him one time in the head. The following day, Mr. McManus’s body was recovered in a wooded area, executed.
After the murder of Mr. McManus, Gray bragged to multiple witnesses that he killed him because he was “hot.” According to Gray, Mr. McManus was “hot and he had to go.”
“Anthony Gray will spend decades in prison for executing a young man who had the courage to tell the truth about another murder committed by Gray’s crew,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “This prison sentence should send a message to criminals who even think about harming a witness. The consequences of choosing to obstruct justice with violence will be harsh.”
In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen, Chief Lanier, and Chief MacLean commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Park Police. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines, who indicted the matter; former Lead Paralegal Specialist Phil Aronson; Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Sharon Newman; Paralegal Specialists Meridith McGarrity, Fern Rhedrick, and Vanessa Trent-Valentine; Intelligence Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Supervisory Witness Security Specialist Michael Hailey; Witness Security Specialists Debra Cannon and Wanda Queen, and Information Technology Specialist Leif Hickling.
Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura R. Bach and Shana L. Fulton, who tried the case.