Shawn Lewis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Wednesday in connection with the death of 38-year-old Douglas Farley. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of 16 to 24 years. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is 40 years.
Lewis will be sentenced in October.
According to the proffer of facts, on June 28th at 6:25 p.m., Lewis spotted Farley on the back porch of his apartment building at the 1600 block of 21st Place SE. Lewis approached Farley, threw igniter fluid at him and lit a newspaper in his hand. He threw the ignited paper onto Farley.
Farley was engulfed in flames and seriously injured. Five days later, Farley died of complications from those injuries. The medical examiner’s office ruled the death was a homicide one day later.
According to charging documents, Farley told police that Lewis threw liquid on him, lit a newspaper on fire and tossed the newspaper onto Farley. Prosecutor Jonathan Kravis said gas cans were found in Lewis’s apartment.
In entering his guilty plea Wednesday, Lewis said of the newspaper, “I didn’t mean to ignite it, but I did ignite it.”
Kia Sears, Lewis’s defense attorney, clarified that Lewis meant he did not intend to light the newspaper, but “he was aware they could ignite” and aware of the possibility of serious harm.
Plea documents have been added to this post.
A press release from the US Attorney’s Office is below.
District Man Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder, Admits Setting Victim on Fire -Attack Took Place in June 2013 in Southeast Washington-
WASHINGTON – Shawn Lewis, 41, of Washington D.C., pled guilty today to a charge of second-degree murder for killing a man in June 2013 by setting him on fire at an apartment building in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Lewis pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Under terms of the plea agreement, the parties each agreed to recommend a sentence between 16 years and 24 years in prison. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 18, 2013.
According to the government’s evidence, at about 6:25 p.m. on June 28, 2013, Lewis returned to the apartment building where he was living in the 1600 block of 21st Place SE. He then went to the back porch of the building, holding a lit piece of newspaper and a container of ignitable liquid. Lewis threw the liquid on the victim, Douglas Farley, 38, who was on the back porch. He ignited the liquid with the lit newspaper, engulfing Mr. Farley in flames. Lewis was arrested on the scene at about 9:25 that evening.
Mr. Farley was taken to the Washington Hospital Center, where he died on July 3, 2013. A post-mortem examination determined that Mr. Farley died as a result of complications from thermal and inhalation injuries sustained by the flames.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of the detectives, officers, and crime scene technicians who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department. He also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Debra Joyner, Victim/Witness Advocate Jennifer Clark, and Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson. Finally, he recognized the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Selden, Kathryn Rakoczy, and Jonathan Kravis, who investigated and prosecuted the case.