Former MPD Officers Convicted In The Death of 20-Year-Old Karon Hylton-Brown
Jurors Found Evidence of a Conscious Disregard of the Extreme Risk of Harm
A jury sitting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia returned guilty verdicts against two former members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in connection with a fatal police pursuit, on Oct. 23, 2020, in Northwest Washington, that caused the death of Karon Hylton-Brown, announced Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.
Terence Sutton, 38, an officer, was found guilty of second degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct, and obstruction of justice. Andrew Zabavsky, 54, a former lieutenant, was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice. The trial was heard before the Honorable Paul L. Friedman in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
The jury found that Sutton caused Mr. Hylton-Brown’s death by driving a police vehicle in conscious disregard for an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury to Mr. Hylton-Brown. The jury further found that Sutton and Zabavsky conspired and combined to hide from MPD officials the circumstances of the traffic crash leading to Mr. Hylton-Brown’s death.
At the time of the police pursuit, Sutton was assigned to the Crime Suppression Team in MPD’s Fourth Police District. Zabavsky supervised the Fourth Police District’s Crime Suppression Team officers, including Sutton. The pursuit began at approximately 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, after officers observed Mr. Hylton-Brown, 20, driving a moped on a sidewalk in the Brightwood Park area of Northwest Washington. The pursuit continued on neighborhood streets for more than 10 blocks and into an alley off the 700 block of Kennedy Street NW. Immediately upon exiting the alley and entering Kennedy Street, Mr. Hylton-Brown was struck by an oncoming civilian vehicle. He suffered severe head trauma and died on Oct. 25, 2020.
The charge of second-degree murder carries a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a statutory maximum of five years and the obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum of 20 years. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.