On December 9, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen sat down with Homicide Watch D.C. reporters Ivan Natividad and Clara Pak.
Looking back at all homicide cases that were tried and convicted this past year, Machen said the Olijawon Griffin murder case was the one he remembers most:
An 18-year-old young kid, was an athlete in school, just an all around good kid. He came to the city with his friends, he was robbed of his jacket. He then by happenstance sees those individuals that robbed him, later that evening at the Woodley Park metro, and then a fight ensues… Seeing it on video, stuck out in my mind because it was such a heinous act. How this individual came up, [Griffin’s] engaged and about to fight some of the other guys, he’s already outnumbered, it’s like four on one, and somebody just comes from behind and stabs him. Just coldblooded, heartless.
Earlier this month, the six codefendants responsible for the November 2012 murder of Griffin, were sentenced to more than 100 years in prison combined.
In the segment below Machen talks about the importance of holding defendants accountable in the courtroom, as he believes it is a deterrent to violent crime.
Recalling homicide convictions in 2013, we asked Machen what those numbers looked like.
“The system breaks down if people are afraid to come forward,” Machen said in reference to the importance of protecting witnesses during trial.
In the segment below, he talks about the “Victim Witness Assistance Unit,” which supports victims and witnesses of violent crime in DC.
Machen, in closing, said that the US Attorney’s office will, in the new year, implement a new unit with the MPD that will focus on cold case forensics, in an attempt to solve unsolved murders.
“Our hope is we can bring justice to some of these families who have been waiting for far too long,” Machen said.