Maryland Man Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison for 2016 Murder in Northwest Washington
Defendant Stabbed Victim in Unprovoked Attack Outside Restaurant
WASHINGTON – Christian Romero, 26, of Hyattsville, Md., was sentenced today to 24 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man, a complete stranger, in an unprovoked attack near a restaurant in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced.
Romero was found guilty by a jury in February 2018 of a charge of second-degree murder while armed. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Juliet McKenna. Following his prison term, Romero will be placed on five years of supervised release.
According to the government’s evidence, the victim, Dimas Fuentes-Lazo, was out with an old friend for drinks on the evening of April 23, 2016. They spent several hours together at different restaurants before parking in front of a restaurant in the 800 block of Kennedy Street NW. At approximately 10:30 p.m., while they waited on the sidewalk out front before going in, they saw Romero across the street, slapping the side-view mirrors of the cars parked along Kennedy Street, including their car. Mr. Fuentes-Lazo’s friend called out, “Hey, that’s my car,” and then Romero aggressively crossed the street to confront the two men.
Words were exchanged, and Romero stepped toward the men, raising his arms aggressively. Romero bent down to pick up a knife he had dropped, stood back up, and lunged at Mr. Fuentes-Lazo, stabbing and slicing him multiple times. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Fuentes-Lazo, 38, was pronounced dead as a result of the stabbing.
Romero ran off, leaving behind a wristwatch, a Coca-Cola bottle, and the switchblade he used to kill the victim. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) led to Romero’s arrest on June 29, 2016, and he has been in custody ever since. Forensic testing confirmed that Romero’s DNA was on both the Coke bottle and the handle of the switchblade.
At the time of the murder, Romero was on probation for a 2012 stabbing that he committed in Prince George’s County, Md. He faces revocation of his probation along with additional prison time in that case.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. She also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department and the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences. She acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Stephanie Siegerist; Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Litigation Technology Specialists Leif Hickling, Anisha Bhatia, and William Henderson; Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark, and Victim/Witness Service Coordinator Katina Adams-Washington.
Finally, she commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian Natiello and Christopher Bruckmann, who investigated and prosecuted the case.