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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

District Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison For Bias-Related Attack of Man in Northeast Washington

Defendant Repeatedly Beat Victim for Perceived Sexual Overture

            WASHINGTON – David Morris, 33, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to an eight-year prison term for the felony offense of assault with intent to kill, with a bias enhancement, for repeatedly attacking a male co-worker who he believed was making a sexual overture toward him, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. announced.

            Morris pled guilty to the charge on May 14, 2015, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Patricia A. Broderick. Upon completion of his prison term, Morris will be placed on three years of supervised release.

            “This criminal’s prejudices drove him to punch, stomp, and use a metal pole to beat his co-worker,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen.  “He will spend the next eight years in prison as punishment for this brutal assault.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to prioritize the prosecution of criminals who express their hate through violence.” 

            According to the government’s evidence, Morris and the victim, 52, were friends and work colleagues at the time of the attack. On the evening of March 14, 2015, the two men were at Morris’s apartment in the 200 block of 61st Street NE, drinking alcohol. Morris interpreted an action from the victim as a homosexual overture. He became enraged and physically threw the victim out of his apartment and down the hallway stairs, toward the first floor of the building. He then dragged the victim from the foyer onto the pathway in front of the building, leaving him there while he went back inside. Two minutes later, however, Morris returned outside, jumped off of a ledge, and, while wearing boots, stomped on the victim’s head. While the victim remained on the ground, Morris repeatedly punched him in the head and upper body.

            Morris verbally expressed his rage at the victim, repeatedly exclaiming that the victim “tried to rape me” and similar phrases. He then began once again punching him in the head and upper body. He returned inside, only to come back out about six minutes later – this time with a metal pole. He poked the victim with the pole and then struck him with it multiple times in the head and upper body. Yet again, Morris returned inside, only to come back out a short time later. Still wearing boots, Morris kicked the victim in the head. Then he approached the victim’s car and scratched and marked it before finally leaving the scene.

            The victim, who was left on the pathway, bleeding profusely from the head, was hospitalized for almost two weeks. He received about 10 stitches to close a gash on the top of his head. He also lost feeling in the right side of his face and will require facial surgery to attempt to repair that damage. His eyesight also has deteriorated significantly. He still uses a cane.

            In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen commended the work of the officers, detectives, and others who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. He also expressed appreciation for the work of the Forensic Services Division of the U.S. Secret Service. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Richard Cheatham, Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Updated July 8, 2015