District Man Sentenced To 73 Years In Prison For Killing A Man During 2009 Kidnapping And RobberyTwo Co-Defendants Earlier Sentenced, One To Life In Prison, One To 90 Years
WASHINGTON – Merle Watson, Jr., 57, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a 73-year prison term on charges stemming from the 2009 killing of a man during a kidnapping and robbery, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Watson and co-defendants Keith Logan and Paul Ashby were found guilty by a jury in August 2013 of first-degree murder while armed, with aggravating circumstances, conspiracy, kidnapping while armed, armed robbery, and weapons offenses. Logan also was found guilty of assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault while armed, and mayhem while armed, for shooting a potential witness on the night of the murder. The verdicts followed several weeks of trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
The Honorable Herbert B. Dixon, Jr. sentenced Watson today. Logan and Ashby, also of Washington, D.C., were sentenced in April 2014 by Judge Dixon. Logan, 52, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of release, and Ashby, 51, to a 90-year prison term.
According to the government’s evidence, Watson, Logan, and Ashby conspired to kidnap and rob Carnell Bolden, 36. They lured Mr. Bolden into Logan’s residence in the unit block of W Street NW during the early evening hours of Dec. 30, 2009. After beating him unconscious and tying him up, the defendants then went to get Mr. Bolden’s car, which was parked on the block.
Watson, Logan, and Ashby then discovered that Mr. Bolden’s girlfriend was sitting in the car. Fearing she would be a witness against them because she might know where Mr. Bolden was going when he left the car, they then decided to kill both of them.
Ashby drove Mr. Bolden, tied up and unconscious, to the 3000 block of Park Drive SE, where he dragged him into a wooded area adjacent to that block. He then shot Mr. Bolden twice at close range with a .38 or .357-caliber handgun, killing him.
While Ashby was on the way to Southeast Washington with Mr. Bolden, Logan approached Mr. Bolden’s girlfriend as she sat in her car. He stood outside the driver’s window and shot her four times with a nine-millimeter handgun. She was rushed to Washington Hospital Center and survived the attack.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, and the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va.
He also thanked those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocates and Specialists Marcia Rinker, La June Thames, Katina Adams-Washington, and Michael Hailey; Paralegal Specialists Sandra Lane, Kendra Johnson, Kwasi Fields, Anthony Griffith, and Antoinette Sakamsa; Litigation Technology Specialists Paul Howell, William Henderson, and Anisha Bhatia; Law Clerks Lauren Sparks and Ryan Lipes, and Criminal Investigators Derek Starliper, Mark Crawford, Nelson Rhone, Chris Brophy, and Melissa Matthews. In addition, he acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alessio Evangelista, who led the grand jury investigation, and Reagan Taylor, who helped prepare the case for trial. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. Liebman and Erik Kenerson, who tried the case.14-114