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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Friday, October 9, 2015

Prisoner Who Escaped from Custody at Virginia Hospital Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Wossen Assaye, 43, of Arlington, was sentenced today to 384 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for two counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, with both counts based on his armed assaults of two security guards during his March 31, 2015, escape from Inova Fairfax Hospital. Assaye was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount $34,870 for the 12 bank robberies, and was ordered to undergo drug testing and treatment in addition to a mental health evaluation and treatment.

Assaye pleaded guilty on July 23, 2015. According to court documents, Assaye accepted responsibility for not only the firearms offenses, but also additional criminal conduct for which he was charged or suspected to be responsible. According to the statement of facts, beginning in October 2013 and continuing until March 2015, Assaye robbed various banks in Northern Virginia on 11 occasions, two of which were armed robberies.  In another instance, Assaye entered a bank with the intent to commit bank robbery and larceny. After being arrested for his crimes, Assaye escaped from federal custody while at a Virginia hospital for treatment. During the course of his escape, Assaye assaulted a security guard, overpowered her, and took her firearm.  He then pointed the firearm at a second guard before pulling the first guard down the hospital hallway at gunpoint and fleeing the hospital.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; Earl L. Cook, Alexandria Chief of Police; Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff; and Mary Gavin, Falls Church Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Judge Brinkema.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Department, Alexandria City Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the Falls Church City Police Department.  Also, during the course of the investigation assistance was received from U.S. Marshals Service, Virginia State Police, Arlington County Police Department, and Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael E. Rich and William M. Sloan, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Glaser prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-115.


Violent Crime
Updated February 4, 2016