Skip to main content
Press Release

Jury Finds District Man Guilty of First-Degree Murder In Killing of 17-Year-Old in the Brightwood Area of Northwest Washington

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Victim was Shot in an Alley Moments after Meeting with Defendant

            WASHINGTON – Mussay Rezene, 31, of Washington, D.C., has been found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder while armed in a shooting that took place in an alley in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Pamela Smith, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            The verdict was returned on January 11, 2024, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Robert D. Okun scheduled sentencing for March 22, 2024. Rezene faces a maximum sentence of sixty years in prison for the crimes.

            According to the government’s evidence, on September 18, 2021, at approximately 9 p.m., the victim, Brayan Villatoro, was riding in a vehicle with a group of friends, heading to a family party. On the way, Mr. Villatoro, asked the driver of the minivan he was riding in, to make a stop so he could meet with someone at the 1300 block of Nicholson Street Northwest. Once they arrived at the location, Mr. Villatoro got out of the van and waited in front of an apartment building. The defendant arrived a short time later in a vehicle, which later proved to be stolen, and directed Mr. Villatoro to a nearby alley. Moments later shots rang out and Mr. Villatoro was hit with eight bullets. Rezene fled the area as did Mr. Villatoro’s friends in the minivan as Mr. Villatoro laid in the alley suffering from his gunshot wounds. Officers arrived and discovered him in the alley a short time after the shooting where he was declared dead.

            Rezene was identified in surveillance video as wearing distinct shoes and clothing. These same shoes were later seen in a photograph of Rezene along with two other individuals, which was posted on social media after Mr. Villatoro’s murder. Cell site data also showed Rezene was present both at the scene of the murder and along the path of the vehicle that Rezene owned.

            This case is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives who assisted with evidence recovery and cell site data analysis and testimony.

            The case is being prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Dennis Clark and Colleen Kukowski. 

Updated January 12, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-31