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Press Release

Maryland Man Sentenced to 17-Year Prison Term For Pair of Robberies of Metro Passengers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
-Second Man Recently Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison For His Role in Crimes-

     WASHINGTON – Clifton Smith, 21, of Oxon Hill, Md., was sentenced today to 17 years in prison for his role in a series of crimes, including two robberies that took place last year on Metrorail trains, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

     Smith and a co-defendant, Alazajuan Gray, 20, of Washington, D.C., were found guilty by a jury in May 2013 of armed robbery, robbery, obstruction of justice, threats, contempt of court, carrying a dangerous weapon and other charges. The verdicts followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Gray was sentenced July 23, 2013, to a 14-year prison term. Both defendants were sentenced by the Honorable Herbert B. Dixon, Jr.

     Upon completion of their prison terms, both men will be placed on five years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, on Sept. 21, 2012, at about 11:30 p.m., Gray and Smith approached several college students who had recently moved to Washington, D.C.  as these college students, including the victim, were on a Metrorail train at the Fort Totten station. Gray, who was armed with a handgun, took the victim’s iPhone and money. Smith encouraged Gray to take the victim’s property. The victim did not report the crime at the time; Smith told him not to “snitch” and tell the police or he would be harmed.

     One week later, on Sept. 28, 2012, at 8:30 p.m. the same victim, who was returning home from his part-time job he used to pay for community college, was at the Fort Totten Metro station and again encountered Gray and Smith. Gray approached him and flashed a gun. Gray and Smith chased the victim into the station’s kiosk. While inside the kiosk, Smith demanded if he was “snitching” and then assaulted the victim. Gray and Smith fled, but soon were caught by police.

     Neither the gun nor the victim’s iPhone were found on either of the defendants.  However, police found an iPhone near the location where Smith was stopped that night by the Metro Transit Police. The iPhone was linked to a separate Sept. 28, 2012 robbery. That robbery occurred at 7:30 p.m. on a Metrorail train at the Gallery Place/Chinatown station. In that incident, Gray grabbed an iPhone from a woman who had also recently moved to Washington, D.C. She was studying her graduate school homework as the train arrived at the station.  After Gray snatched the iPhone, Smith then blocked the victim’s attempt to chase after Gray.

     Cellular tower evidence placed Gray’s cell phone at the scene of the first armed robbery. 

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He also expressed appreciation to the Metro Transit Police and the FBI for assisting in the investigation. Finally, he acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Todd McClelland, Lynette Briggs, Lynda Randolph, and Kendrell Smith; Litigation Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia, Thomas Royal, Will Henderson, Josh Ellen, Paul Howell, Claudia Gutierrez, and Leif Hickling; Victim/Witness Advocates  Jennifer Clark and James Brennan; interns Ashley P. Foote, Taylor Jones and Chelsea King; former intern Justin Bennett, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Curt and Chrisellen Kolb, Deputy Chiefs of the Appellate Division. Finally, he thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Selden, of the Felony Major Crimes Section, who is prosecuting the matter.



Updated March 8, 2016