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Press Release

District Man Sentenced To Seven Years In Prison In Break-In Of Elderly Woman’s Home-Defendant Punched Victim, Knocking Her Unconscious-

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

     WASHINGTON - Tyran Mcelrath, 18, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to seven years in prison on charges stemming from an attack he carried out against an elderly woman during a burglary last fall of the victim’s home in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Mcelrath pled guilty in February 2013 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of first-degree burglary and one count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced by the Honorable Patricia A. Broderick. Following completion of his prison term, Mcelrath will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, Mcelrath left his home on the morning of Nov. 7, 2012, and traveled to the 3500 block of McKinley Street NW, where the victim, an 81-year-old woman, resided.  Mcelrath, who did not know the victim, went to the house intending to steal property, and broke into the home through a basement window.  At the time, the victim was on the second floor of the house, listening to music. 

     Mcelrath took some tools from the basement and made his way up to the main floor of the house, where he rifled through cabinets and took change from the victim’s change purse.  Mcelrath carried an Apple computer outside and hid it in bushes located at the base of the front porch steps. The victim then came downstairs to put on her shoes and discovered a stranger, later identified as Mcelrath, in the foyer.

     She walked toward the front door and politely asked Mcelrath to leave. Mcelrath punched her repeatedly in the face with closed fists until she lost consciousness.  Mcelrath then fled before police were called.

     A civilian witness, who came upon the victim sometime after the assault, called police.  Police found the victim disoriented and suffering from multiple bruises and broken teeth as a result of the beating. She was hospitalized for several days for severe facial contusions and head injuries and was traumatized by the attack. She was no longer able to live alone in the home. Her overall health declined in the ensuing months, and she recently died.

     Police were able to identify Mcelrath as the perpetrator when they searched GPS records, which showed Mcelrath inside the victim’s home between 11:41 a.m. and 12:21 p.m., when the crimes occurred.  Police used that same GPS information to locate Mcelrath in Southeast Washington the following day, and found that he matched the limited description that the victim was able to provide, and was wearing a mask that was the same as the one the victim had described.  Police subsequently obtained surveillance video from Metro that showed Mcelrath as he traveled to and from the crime scene.

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the Metropolitan Police Department officers and detectives who investigated the case.  He also commended the efforts of Victim Witness Program Specialist Jennifer Clark, for her work with the victim in this case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ann Carroll and Jonathan Kravis, who investigated and indicted the case.


Updated February 19, 2015