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Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison For Sexual Attacks Against Women in Southeast Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Also Must Serve an Additional 22 Years for Similar Attacks

            WASHINGTON - Darius Nelson, 28, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a 40-year prison term on charges involving a series of sexual assaults in Southeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Peter Newsham, Interim, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Nelson pled guilty in September 2016, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for a prison term of 40 years, to run consecutively to the 22-year sentence that Nelson is currently serving for other sexual assault convictions. The Honorable José M. López accepted the plea today and sentenced Nelson accordingly. Upon completion of his prison term, Nelson will be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. He also must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

            In the earlier case, Nelson pled guilty in 2014 to sexually assaulting two women in separate attacks in Southeast Washington in October of 2013. In this case, in September, he pled guilty to assaulting three other women in separate incidents in 2012 and 2013.

            In his guilty plea in this case, Nelson admitted that late in the evening on April 11, 2012, he was walking with the first victim when he put her into a chokehold and dragged her to the rear of a residence in the 1600 block of 21st Place SE.  He threw her to the ground, punched her in the face, and sexually assaulted her.  After the sexual assault, he again physically assaulted her.

            Nelson further admitted that in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2012, the second victim was walking on Minnesota Avenue SE, near Pennsylvania Avenue, when he started a conversation with her.  During that conversation, Nelson hit her in the face and put what he told the victim was a knife to her back.  He then forced her to the rear of a gas station where he sexually assaulted her.  Afterward, he ordered her to stay on the ground and not get up, and he fled.

            Finally, Nelson admitted that late in the evening on Sept. 18, 2013, he grabbed the third victim from behind in a chokehold and forced her into an alley in the rear of the 2200 block of Nicholson Street SE.  In the alley, he robbed her, then pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.  When finished, he told her to stay down and remain still, and he fled the scene.

            The victims were all taken to Washington Hospital Center, where they each received a sexual assault examination.  Swabs taken from two of the victims during their examinations were sent to Bode Technology for DNA testing.  A male DNA profile found on the swabs was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a web of state and national databases containing DNA profiles from convicted offenders and crime scenes that is used as an investigative tool.  Nelson was identified as a suspect through a CODIS search and DNA “cold hit.”  His DNA profile had been loaded into the CODIS database following his 2014 convictions for sexually assaulting the other two women. During an interview with detectives from the MPD’s Sexual Assault Unit in November 2014, Nelson admitted to committing his crimes against the three women in the case that led to the plea today.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Interim Chief Newsham commended the work of the detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit.  They also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson and Paralegal Specialists Tierra Nanches, Angelina Slagle, and Wanda Trice.  Finally, they acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julianne Johnston, Jodi Lazarus, and Lindsay Suttenberg, who prosecuted the case.

Updated November 21, 2016

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-229