Keir Johnson, Lester Williams, Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder

Keir Johnson and Lester Williams were found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder while armed and other weapons, conspiracy, and criminal street gang offenses Friday in connection to the shooting death of Jamal Coates.

Coates, 21, was shot and killed in September 2010 while leaving a friend’s funeral in the U Street corridor. The incident happened during broad daylight on a busy intersection with several eye witnesses to the shooting.

The trial, which began in November of last year, dealt with three separate murders, 80 criminal counts, and four co-defendants. After 38 days in trial and eight days of deliberations, the jury delivered a partial verdict late Friday afternoon.
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Moultrie Courthouse Again Closed Monday Due to Snow

Winter storm Wiley has prompted District officials to close Moultrie Courthouse Monday because of snowfall. All criminal cases and arraignments scheduled for Mar. 17 will be postponed until Mar. 18.

Monday is the fourth time this year that the D.C. Courts have closed because of inclement weather.
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A Spike in Homicides has Police and Communities Searching for Solutions

The first ten weeks of 2014 have been the bloodiest D.C. has seen in recent years. A total of 26 people were killed between January 1, and March 14 in comparison to 15 homicides at the same time last year.

Homicides Table“We haven’t seen anything like this in a really long time,” said Metropolitan Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier.

According to police none of the cases are connected and there has not been any sign of retaliatory patterns related to gang rivalry.

Lanier attributes some of the surge in homicides to the extended periods of cold weather and a rise in domestic violence.

Most of the communities affected are located east of the Anacostia River, where 17 of the murders have taken place, eight of them during daylight hours.
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Domestic Violence Experts Worry About Rise in Domestic Violence Cases— Including Homicides

After a decline in the number of domestic violence homicides during 2012, it appears that the number of homicide victims related to domestic violence may rise again this year.

Within the first two months of 2014, domestic violence related homicides have taken the lives of four people and injured one other person. Two domestic violence deaths in late 2013 were declared homicides in 2014 and are included in this year’s count, bringing the total to date to six.

This year, the deaths of Tykia Dickerson, Detra Martin, Claudia Hall, and Leroi Elliott, one-month-old Hakeem Brown, and one other infant have been confirmed as related to domestic violence.

During all of 2013, 11 homicides were classified as domestic-violence related by MPD.

According to Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham while the number of domestic violence related homicides is up, it is “too soon to say if it is a trend.” The Metropolitan Police Department is watching the increase carefully, says Newsham, but there no indication that they are related.
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Moultrie Courthouse Closed Monday Due to Snow

Winter storm Titan has buried the District in snow and prompted officials to close Moultrie Courthouse Monday. All criminal cases and arraigments scheduled for Mar. 3 will be postponed until Mar. 4.

The trial of Montez and David Warren, which began last month, is among the trials postponed. Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday at 10:45 a.m.

The trial of Keir Johnson, Lester Williams, Robert Givens, and Marcellus Jackson, which began several months ago, is also among the trials postponed. Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

After Representing Himself, Richard Williams Sentenced to 35 Years for Fatal Stabbing

A man believed to be homeless, known around his neighborhood for selling bootleg CDs, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the stabbing death of 37-year-old Sean West.

Richard Williams, 43, chose to represent himself at trial in December 2013 as he faced charges of second-degree murder while armed and related offenses.

Williams was diagnosed with a malingering personality disorder and alcohol dependency in April 2013 after several mental health observations. He was found competent for trial in November 2013 and refused legal representation short after.
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Moultrie Courthouse Closed Tuesday Due To Fire, Water Damage

A fire and subsequent water damage prompted the Moultrie Courthouse building to close Tuesday, spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz announced Tuesday morning. All criminal and juvenile cases previously scheduled for Feb. 11 will be postponed until Feb. 12.

Matters scheduled in other buildings, like the crime victims compensation program, are not affected, Gurowitz said.
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Richard Williams Sentenced to 35 Years In Stabbing Death of Sean West

Richard Williams was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison in connection with the stabbing death of Sean West in 2010.

Williams was found guilty of second-degree murder in the case in December.

A press release from the US Attorney’s Office is after the jump.
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Arrest in 1999 Homicide of Kelvin Howard

MPD has announced an arrest in the 1999 shooting death of 18-year-old Kelvin Howard. Police say 35-year-old Anthony Gray of Southeast DC was arrested Tuesday. He is the second arrest in the case, police say.

A press release is after the jump.
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2009 Shooting Death of Michael George Colbert Closed with Arrest

The 2009 shooting death of Southeast DC man Michael George Colbert was closed Tuesday with the arrest of 30-year-old Quinn Johnson, also of Southeast DC.

Johnson is suspected of first-degree murder while armed, police said.

MPD’s press release is after the jump.
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