Four Men Sentenced to Life for June 2018 Slaying
Defendants Abducted Maryland Man and Held Him for Ransom
WASHINGTON – Four Washington, D.C. men were sentenced today in U.S. District Court to life in prison for murder and other charges in the kidnapping of a Maryland man, whose body was found in June 2018 in an alley in Southeast Washington. The victim had been shot numerous times and his hands were still bound with zip-ties.
Defendants Darin Moore, Jr. 29, of Bowie, Md., Gabriel Brown, 33, and John Sweeney, 29, both of Washington, D.C., were each sentenced to life in prison on the charge of kidnapping resulting in death, and 45 years in prison on counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, first degree premeditated murder and felony murder, all to run concurrent to each other. Defendant James Taylor, 33, also of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping resulting in death and 45 years in prison for felony murder, to run concurrently. All four were found guilty, on November 1, 2022, following a trial in U.S. District Court.
The sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal and Cyber Division, and Chief Robert J. Contee III, of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
According to the government’s evidence, on June 19, 2018, the victim, Andre Simmons, Jr., 28, from Bowie, Maryland, was abducted at gunpoint in Maryland, bound with zip ties, and forced into a vehicle by Moore and Sweeney. During the following few hours, several ransom calls were made from Taylor’s phone to Mr. Simmons’ family, who delivered $7,000 in cash to a drop location as instructed by the kidnappers. The money was subsequently picked up by Brown.
Just over an hour after the ransom payment, at about 6:25 a.m. on June 20, 2018, the defendants shot Mr. Simmons 19 times and left his zip-tied body in an alley off the 600 block of Atlantic Street SE. The four men then met up in Capitol Heights, Maryland, to divide up the proceeds of the ransom demand.
Moore was arrested on June 20, 2018; Brown was arrested on June 27, 2018; Taylor was arrested on Aug. 17, 2018; and Sweeney was arrested on Jan. 14, 2019. All have been in custody since their arrests.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office Violent Crimes Task Force and MPD’s Homicide Division. Valuable assistance was provided by Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department, and the U.S. Marshal Service.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Wasserman and Will Hart, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Crane and former Paralegal Specialist Genevieve De Guzman also assisted in the prosecution.