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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 18, 2015

Maryland Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison For Attacking Two Women in Northwest Washington

Defendant Tried to Abduct Both Women and Drag Them to Secluded Spots

            WASHINGTON – Fernando Salas, 31, formerly of Gaithersburg, Md., was sentenced today to three years in prison after earlier pleading guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse stemming from his random attack on two different women one night in May 2015, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.

            Salas pled guilty in June 2015 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, in an Alford plea. Under such a plea, the defendant does not admit the allegations but agrees that the government has enough evidence to secure a conviction. He was sentenced by the Honorable Jennifer Anderson. Upon completion of his prison term, Salas will be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to the government’s evidence, early on May 7, 2015, after a night of heavy drinking and attending a strip club on M Street NW, Salas took to the nearby streets.  He first accosted a college student as she was walking home on 19th Street NW, just south of M Street.  He grabbed her from behind and tried to drag her into a nearby alley.  She was able to get his hand off of her mouth and began screaming for help, at which point Salas fled down the alley.

            A few minutes later, Salas came up from behind another young woman who was waiting for an Uber ride at 18th and M Streets NW.  Again, Salas approached from behind, grabbed the woman, and tried to drag her to a secluded spot outside a nearby bank.  As she struggled to get away, a Good Samaritan saw what Salas was doing and yelled at him.  Salas then threw the woman to the ground and ran away.

            Salas was apprehended nearby a short while later by officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), who were responding to the 911 placed by the first victim after she got away.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Phillips praised the work of MPD’s Second District officers and detectives from the MPD Sexual Assault Unit, which investigated the case. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists D’Yvonne Key and Joyce Arthur; and Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins. Finally, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter V. Taylor, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
15-247
Updated February 4, 2016