The jury of three men and nine women announced the verdict just before noon Tuesday. Their deliberations lasted approximately two days.
Knight was found dead of a stabbing on March 4, 2011, in her apartment. In the days before the murder, her home had twice been burglarized. In those burglaries, photos of Knight and Littlepage were taken, Knight’s father’s ashes were flushed down the toilet, her clothes were thrown into the bathtub with bleach, and the TV was stolen.
Calling Littlepage “an obsessive ex-lover, spurned by Miss Knight for the final time,” Prosecutor Robert Feitel told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that Littlepage had been “desperate to hurt” Knight.
“Everything Keith Littlepage did was personal,” Feitel said. “It was the ultimate personal act. He killed Selina Knight.”
At trial, Knight’s family testified that they heard a voicemail Littlepage had left on Knight’s phone threatening to make fliers with her photo, HIV status, and address. On the message, Littlepage said he would post the fliers at local businesses. A crisis counselor testified that on March 9, a suicidal Littlepage told her, “Bitch gave me HIV. Bitch gave me AIDS.” Stricken by the words, she jotted them down in her dayplanner. In an HIV test administered after Knight’s death, Littlepage did not test positive for HIV.
Jurors found Littlepage guilty of all charges in the case except for one count of threats and one count of second-degree theft. The crimes he was found guilty of included first-degree murder, felony murder, first-degree burglary, second-dgree burglary, and threats.
Judge Thomas Motley scheduled sentencing in the case for Sept. 26. Prosecutors intend to seek an increased sentence because Littlepage has previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
A press release from the US Attorney’s Office is added below. (July, 24 5 p.m.)
District Man Convicted of First-Degree Premeditated Murder, Other Charges in March 2011 Killing of Ex-Girlfriend- Defendant Made Threats in Days Leading Up to the Slaying -
WASHINGTON - Keith Littlepage, 50, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury today of first degree premeditated murder while armed and other charges in the March 2011 slaying of a woman in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
The jury also convicted Littlepage of felony murder while armed, first-degree burglary, and second-degree burglary. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Thomas J. Motley scheduled sentencing for Sept. 26, 2012. Littlepage faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without release, based upon the aggravating circumstances present in the case. Littlepage has a prior conviction for voluntary manslaughter dating back to 1981, though that fact was not presented to the jury.
According to the evidence at trial, Littlepage and the victim, Selina Knight, 36, had been involved in a romantic relationship that had ended at her behest before the murder. Littlepage engaged in a pattern of escalating, threatening conduct in the days leading up to the killing. For example, he ransacked Ms. Knight’s apartment in the 3000 block of Nelson Place SE and threw her father’s cremation ashes in the toilet. He also scrawled profane graffiti on the walls of the apartment. These threats culminated in the evening hours of March 4, 2011, when Littlepage stabbed Ms. Knight several times with a sharp object, killing her.
The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that Littlepage had threatened Ms. Knight in a variety of other ways. For example, he threatened to kill Ms. Knight in a private phone call between himself and his sister several weeks before the murder and made numerous telephonic threats to kill her in the days leading up to the murder.
In announcing today’s verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including detectives, mobile crime technicians, and others. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Fern Rhedrick and Theresa Nelson, Litigation Support Services Specialist Tracy Van Atta and Leif Hickling, and Victim Advocate Marcia Rinker.
Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Feitel and Erik M. Kenerson, who prosecuted the case at trial.