Man Found Guilty of Murder and Other Charges in Slaying of Corrina Mehiel
Victim Was a Visiting Artist from North Carolina
WASHINGTON – El Hadji Toure, 30, formerly of Laurel, Md., was found guilty today of murder and other charges stemming from the March 2017 slaying of artist Corrina Mehiel, whose body was found in a rowhouse in Northeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Toure was found guilty by a jury of a total of 13 charges, including first-degree murder while armed (premeditated and felony), with aggravating circumstances; first-degree sexual abuse while armed, also with aggravating circumstances; kidnapping while armed; first-degree burglary while armed; robbery while armed; first-degree theft; unauthorized use of a vehicle; credit card fraud, and first-degree identity theft. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with no possibility of release. The Honorable Juliet McKenna scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2019.
According to the government’s evidence, on March 21, 2017, at approximately 4:34 p.m., officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) found Ms. Mehiel’s body in a rowhouse in the 600 block of 14th Street NE. Ms. Mehiel’s body, which had been bound, showed multiple stab wounds to her neck and side. Ms. Mehiel, 34, of Burnsville, N.C., had been staying in the sublet basement apartment while in Washington for a couple of weeks while working on an art show at the Corcoran Gallery at George Washington University.
On the morning of Monday, March 20, 2017, Ms. Mehiel was packing up her few belongings from the apartment. Toure broke into the residence, kidnapping and sexually assaulting her, stabbing her, and stealing her belongings, including her car and her debit card. Toure later used her debit card to withdraw cash at several ATMs in nearby Maryland and Virginia from March 20 through March 24, 2017.
On the afternoon of March 21, 2017, when no one had heard from Ms. Mehiel, her co-workers entered her apartment and found her body, face down in her bedroom.
The defendant, who was a stranger to Ms. Mehiel, was arrested on March 27, 2017, in Northeast Washington, and has been in custody ever since.
The government’s evidence in the case included surveillance video showing Toure using Ms. Mehiel’s debit card at ATMs; he is also visible on surveillance video on Ms. Mehiel’s block shortly before the attack. Additionally, DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of those investigating the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Metro Transit Police Department, the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, and Signature Science LLC. They acknowledged the efforts of those worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Elizabeth Trosman, Chief of the Appellate Division; Chrisellen Kolb, Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division; Stephen R. Prest, Special Counsel for Discovery Policy and Litigation; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julianne Johnston, Silvia Gonzalez Roman, and Lauren Bates; Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark; Victim/Witness Services Coordinator LaJune Thames; Supervisory Victim/Witness Services Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington; Supervisory Paralegal Specialists Sharon Newman; Paralegal Specialists Tijuana McPhail and Richard Cheatham; Senior Paralegal Specialist Kathryn Hoey; Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling; Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Criminal Investigator John Marsh, and Forensic Operation/Program Specialist Elizabeth Marrero.
Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Nestler and Jessi Brooks, who investigated and prosecuted the case.