Judge Russell Canan sentenced Herbert Hayes to 40 years in prison for the May 2012 stabbing death of John Wesley Griffin. The sentencing was a significant and substantial departure from guidelines which recommended 15 to 26 years in prison.
“You’ve just been committing violent crimes for 25 years,” Canan told Hayes Friday. “I have no confidence at all that you will ever change your ways.”
Hayes was found guilty in July of second-degree murder while armed in Griffin’s death.
At sentencing Friday, Hayes’ defense attorney, Russell Hairston, said that Hayes was never given proper mental health services as a juvenile, which has led to a lengthly criminal history. Prosecutors in the case said Friday that Hayes has been arrested over 25 times, and that he would never be rehabilitated.
Griffin, 42, was stabbed seven times on May 18, 2012 around 9:30 pm on the 1200 block of North Capitol Street Northwest. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Three days later Hayes was arrested and held connection with the case.
According to charging documents, witnesses told police that the night of the murder, Hayes chased Griffin into the street where they began to fight. Hayes threw several strikes at Griffin, and knocked him to the ground. Hayes then stood over Griffin with a knife in his hand and said, “fuck the police,” then fled.
During the trial Hayes claimed that he never stabbed Griffin and that the prosecution’s witnesses were “coerced against” him.
“There’s a lot of evidence I didn’t get to display in trial,” Hayes said Friday. “I would ask council to file for my appeal.”
A press release is below
District Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison
For 2012 Slaying in Northwest Washington
-Defendant Stabbed Victim During Confrontation on Street-
WASHINGTON – Herbert G. Hayes, 41, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man last year in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Hayes was found guilty by a jury in July 2013, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Russell F. Canan sentenced him today. Upon completion of his prison term, Hayes will be placed on five years of supervised release.
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 sentence, 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.
Public Information Officer
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia