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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Man Indicted on Charge of First-Degree Murder While Armed For 1993 Slaying of Woman in Northwest Washington

Arrest and Indictment Follow Defendant's Identification as Suspect Through DNA

            WASHINGTON – Therion Bryant, 49, of Baltimore, Md., and formerly of Washington, D.C., was indicted today on one count of first-degree murder while armed for the 1993 slaying of a woman in Northwest Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Peter Newsham, Acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).


            The indictment was returned by a grand jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Bryant is to be arraigned March 10, 2017 before the Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo.


            According to the government’s evidence, on the morning of Oct. 16, 1993, the almost completely naked body of the victim, Charlene Johnson, was discovered at the bottom of a stairwell to the rear, basement entrance of a row home in the 3600 block of New Hampshire Avenue Northwest. The District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Ms. Johnson, 25, was killed as a result of multiple stab wounds.


            DNA evidence was obtained from the victim’s body and in the area surrounding where Ms. Johnson was found. Bryant was identified as a suspect in 2014 through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a web of state and national databases containing DNA profiles from convicted offenders and crime scenes that is used as an investigative tool. He was arrested on June 1, 2016, by members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.


            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.


            This case is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department with assistance from the FBI’s Laboratory Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Donovan.

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated March 9, 2017