Jurors in the case deliberated for approximately one day before delivering their verdict at around 1:20 p.m. Hayes, 40, was charged with first-degree murder while armed; second-degree murder while armed is a lesser charge.
On the night of May 18, 2012 at 9:30 p.m., police found Griffin laying on a sidewalk suffering from multiple stab wounds on the 1200 block of North Capitol Street, in the Northwest area. Griffin was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
During trial Hayes testified that he never stabbed Griffin and that the prosecution’s witnesses were “tricked and coerced against” him. But the prosecution argued that the stabbing was premeditated and that Hayes deliberately stabbed Griffin, then “boasted” to his friends and his girlfriend about what he did.
Griffin’s niece, Mildred Williams, wept outside the courtroom after the verdict, hugging Assistant US Attorney Adrienne Dedjinou saying “Thank you so much, I needed this.”
“I’m going to miss his smile, his laugh and his good nature. He was the heart of our family,” Williams said. “I am happy but, second-degree murder is not enough. I wanted first-degree. I mean he stood over my uncle and said “fuck tha police.” [Hayes] should never be released, ever.”
Hayes is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office has been added below.
District Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder While Armed In 2012 Slaying in Northwest Washington -Defendant Stabbed Victim During Confrontation on Street-
WASHINGTON – Herbert G. Hayes, 41, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury today of second-degree murder while armed in a slaying that took place last year in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Hayes was found guilty by a jury following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for Sept. 20, 2013. Hayes faces a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison for the crime.
According to the government’s evidence, on May 18, 2012 at about 9:30 p.m., Hayes chased the victim, John Wesley Griffin, 42, down the sidewalk in the 1200 block of North Capitol Street NW. As the chase continued, Mr. Griffin yelled, “Police, police!” Mr. Griffin ran into the street and Hayes followed him. Mr. Griffin then turned and faced Hayes, putting up his fists to fight. At that point, Hayes stabbed him. Mr. Griffin staggered to the sidewalk and then collapsed. Hayes stood over him, and with knife in hand, shouted an expletive about the police before fleeing the scene. Mr. Griffin died as a result of his wounds.
Hayes was arrested on May 21, 2012, and has been in custody ever since.
In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the detectives, officers and mobile crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Mia Beamon, Victim/Witness Advocate Tamara Ince; Litigation Technology Specialists Kimberly Smith and Ron Royal, and Interns Daniel Fletcher and Lauren Sparks. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Melinda Williams and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Chris Dobbie, who secured the indictment in the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Dedjinou, who prosecuted the case.