Skip to main content
Press Release

District Man Sentenced to 47 Years in Prison for Killing Man in Alley on Christmas Eve 2014

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Targeted Victim After Earlier Stealing His Jacket

            WASHINGTON – Joseph Minor, 27, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 47 years in prison for killing a man on Christmas Eve of 2014 in an alley in Southeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Minor was found guilty by a jury in April 2018 of first-degree murder while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, and related firearms offenses, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Judith Bartnoff.

            According to the government’s evidence, Minor and the victim, Gregory Lee, knew one another from the Barry Farm area in in Southeast Washington. Despite that relationship, in mid-December, Minor stole Mr. Lee’s jacket from him at gunpoint. Then, a short time later, Mr. Lee saw Minor with his jacket, and he took it back, angering Minor for days.

            Five days later – shortly before 9 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2014, a misty Christmas Eve – Minor and a co-defendant, Maurice Blakey, went looking for Mr. Lee and confronted him in an alley near the 1300 block of Stevens Road SE, in the Barry Farm area. After a short verbal confrontation, both Minor and Blakey began firing weapons. Minor shot the unarmed Mr. Lee multiple times as Mr. Lee tried to flee, killing him. Blakey, meanwhile, pulled out a pump-action shotgun during the confrontation and fired at a person who was with Mr. Lee; that person was not hit and fled. One of the bullets from Minor’s .380 semiautomatic handgun had pierced multiple major organs and vessels in Mr. Lee’s chest, and he bled to death in a yard, just off the alley. By the time first responders arrived, he was completely unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

            Minor and Blakey, 26, were arrested a week after the murder and have been in custody ever since. Blakey, also of Washington, D.C., admitted his role in the shooting. Blakey now is serving a 22-year prison term for a separate murder.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, and the U.S. Park Police. They acknowledged the work of those who assisted with the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Mannarino, Lauren Bates, and Magdalena Acevedo; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Natalia Medina; Paralegal Specialists Stephanie Siegerist, Lornce Applewhite, and Alesha Matthews-Yette; Liaison and Operations Manager Linda McDonald; Litigation Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia, William Henderson, Leif Hickling, and Paul Howell; Criminal Investigator Zachary McMenamin; Victim/Witness Service Coordinators La June Thames and Katina Adams-Washington; Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker; Forensic Operation/Program Specialist Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie, and former Intern James Haynes.

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Bruckmann and Lindsey Merikas, who investigated and prosecuted the case.


Updated June 25, 2018

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 18-155