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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 29, 2015

Two Defendants Sentenced to Prison Terms For 2014 Murder of Man in Northeast Washington

Victim Was Shot in Attempted Robbery of a Laptop

            WASHINGTON –William Smallwood, 23, has been sentenced to a 22-year prison term and Demitrich Jones, 17, has been sentenced to 18 years of incarceration on charges stemming from the killing of man during an attempted robbery of a laptop last year in Northeast Washington, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. announced. 

            The defendants, both from Washington, D.C., pled guilty in April 2015, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to second-degree murder for the death of Rashard Raigns. They were sentenced on June 26, 2015, by the Honorable Jennifer Anderson. Upon completion of their prison terms, Smallwood and Jones will be on supervised release for five years. 

            According to the government’s evidence, on June 3, 2014, Mr. Raigns, 33, purchased a laptop at a Best Buy store. Later, at about 10 p.m., Mr. Raigns laid a blanket out on the sidewalk in the 1900 block of Fenwick Street across from a retail distributor known as ProFish Limited and watched his laptop.  Mr. Raigns had his personal items laid out on the blanket, including a backpack, some clothing, a container of Chinese takeout food, a laptop case and power cord.

            Jones noticed the laptop and decided he wanted to take it. He then went home and told Smallwood and a juvenile about the laptop and they all agreed to rob Mr. Raigns. Jones grabbed a BB gun and Smallwood grabbed a handgun. Jones and Smallwood also carried T-shirts around their necks that they used to cover their faces. All three suspects then left the house and walked back to Mr. Raigns’s location.

            Jones and Smallwood placed the shirts over their heads and approached Mr. Raigns, while the juvenile stayed further back and acted as a look-out.  Jones tried to grab the laptop, but Mr. Raigns resisted and grabbed Jones’s arm.  Jones broke free. Mr. Raigns then tried to get away, but Smallwood shot him. Jones and Smallwood walked away from the crime scene and went home.  Once back home, Jones changed his clothes, got on a bike and went back to get the laptop computer. Mr. Raigns died from a single gunshot wound to his chest.

            In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen commended the work of the detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division Homicide Branch, crime scene officers, and the Fifth Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department. He also acknowledged the assistance provided by the U.S. Secret Service.  He expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Marcia Rinker, of the Victim /Witness Assistance Unit; Paralegal Specialist Vanessa Trent-Valentine; and Investigative Analyst Zachary McMenamin. Finally, he praised the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica Sanchez, who investigated, indicted and prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
15-127
Updated June 29, 2015