Year in Review 2011

Every day Homicide Watch brings you the most up-to-date news available on DC homicides: reporting on new crimes, arrests, court proceedings and more. Now, as 2011 draws to a close, it’s time to look back on what we’ve learned.

This special 2011 Year in Review package features interviews, investigative reports, charts, roundups and more, all exploring this year in D.C. homicides. We also look ahead to what’s in store next year, particularly at DC Superior Court where several high profile murder cases are scheduled for trial in the first weeks of the year.

We Remember: A Letter from Homicide Watch DC

This past February, 18-year-old Cardozo High senior Lucki Pannell left this message on her Facebook wall: Less than two hours later, Pannell was dead. Detectives said a man walked up to Pannell’s Columbia Heights porch, aimed a gun at Pannell and her friends, and fired. She was ultimately one of 108 people killed this year … Read more →

Homicide By the Numbers

As part of our special Year in Review series, we parse out data related to this year’s homicides. The numbers in this story are pulled from Homicide Watch DC’s database unless otherwise noted. For more detailed information, use the sorting features on our victims and suspects databases or explore our map. In 2011: There were … Read more →

The Art of Memory and Loss: Behind the Lens of Washington’s Other Monuments

Lloyd Wolf is DC’s most well known photographer of the street memorials left to homicide victims. He records the art of memory and loss on his photography site, Washington’s Other Monuments. In this special report for Homicide Watch’s Year in Review Lloyd talks to reporter Tom LeGro about some of the most memorable memorials this … Read more →

The Ten Cases That Captured Our Attention This Year

One hundred and eight murder victims. Seventy suspects. From them, these were the cases that captured our hearts and minds this year. This list of ten cases was created based on your suggestions, our observations and an analysis of which stories were most read or most commented on. Read more Read more →

Not An Ordinary Murder: Brian Scott’s Death One Year Later

Brian Curtis Scott’s two-year-old daughter Aleia can’t talk to her father, so she talks to a picture of Jesus instead. The image, which portrays Jesus as black, hangs in Scott’s mother’s living room. Brian Scott became the first DC murder victim in 2011 when he was gunned down in Southeast DC on January 2. “She … Read more →

An Interview with United States Attorney Ronald Machen: Plea Deals, Prosecutions, and the Pursuit of Justice in DC

In a crowded H Street bar one evening this fall, US Attorney Ronald Machen answered question after question about public safety and the pursuit of justice in DC. The community event was one of dozens he attended throughout the year, part of an intensive campaign to make the prosecution of crimes a community effort. The … Read more →

The Year in Comments

Family, friends and neighborhoods of homicide victims and suspects opened up their hearts and minds on Homicide Watch throughout the year. In their comments were words of grief, wisdom, loss and comfort. They helped all of us better understand the true human impact of violent crime and the humanity present in the most tragic of … Read more →

Hunger Strike, Spies, Iranian “Hits”: A Look Back from Georgetown Patch at the DC Murder that Made International Headlines

Albrecht Muth, 47, who claims to be an officially unofficial agent of the Iraqi military, will spend the new year at DC Jail, where he is on a hunger strike and awaiting indictment in Georgetown’s first murder in five years. Muth is suspected in the August 2011 strangling death of his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, … Read more →

More Men, Family Violence, in Domestic Violence Homicides this Year

Domestic violence experts in DC watched homicide reports closely this year, culling the details of every case to determine whether murder victims were also domestic violence victims. Too often they have been, said Amy Loudermilk, a senior policy specialist with the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV). Of 108 reported homicides this year, 13 victims … Read more →

Shared: The Reality of Living and Dying in DC

R.i.p to the brothers who lost their lives tonight in the city due to the violence. Prayers go out to the survivors.#wegottodobetter — CockySavingLives (@Gandhi1012) April 7, 2011 This was just one of countless messages about violence in DC that were posted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube this year. Many of the messages were heartbreaking. … Read more →

Transgender Activists Seek Peace, Closure in Wake of Murders

Beginning in July and continuing through the fall, transgender activists sounded an alarming message: the District was becoming a dangerous place for members of their community. Early in the morning of July 20, 23-year-old LaShay McLean was fatally shot on the 6100 block of Dix Street. Less than two months later, on Sept. 10, Gaurav … Read more →

Understanding MPD’s 94% Homicide Closure Rate

At a press conference today at MPD headquarters, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and DC Mayor Vincent Gray both touted the city’s 94 percent homicide case closure rate for the year. Gray called the number “astounding.” Said Lanier, “We used to be known as the murder capital of the world and the city of unsolved homicides. … Read more →

DC is No Longer the “Murder Capital” Says Lanier

We used to be known as the murder capital of the world and the city of unsolved homicides,” DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a press conference marking the end of a year that has seen the District’s murder rate drop to its lowest level since the early 1960s. “Our detectives and our police … Read more →

Lanier: Quick Arrests Prevent “Retaliatory Violence”

Murder cases are being closed faster than ever, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Friday. “The time it takes us to close a case has dropped dramatically.” She credits cooperation between law enforcement, prosecutors and the community with quick arrests, many happening at or near the crime scene.Read more Read more →

The Year Ahead: Judges

An additional judge will be assigned to murder cases on a regular basis at D.C. Superior Court in 2012, bringing the total number of judges regularly assigned to murder cases to five. The decision to add a judge to the Felony 1 calendar of the District’s most serious cases was made by Chief Judge Lee … Read more →

The Year Ahead: Trials

Trials for more than two dozen murder cases are already scheduled on the 2012 judicial calendar. Dates as far out as Nov. 19 have been penciled into judge’s schedules. Of murders that have occurred since Oct. 2010, 25 cases are currently scheduled for 2012 trials. Read more Read more →

Waiting: A Year in DC Courts

Every murder case begins, publicly, when a suspect is presented with a charge. At DC Superior Court, this happens in Courtroom C-10, a large room on the lowest floor of the courthouse. A gallery of benches face the judge, who sits at the top of a three-tiered dais. Suspects are brought in from the judge’s … Read more →

Roundup: Covering the Year in Review

Over the past two weeks, Homicide Watch DC has brought you a special series of stories about 2011 homicides in the District. We’ve published a Q&A with US Attorney Ronald Machen, guest columns from Mayor Vincent Gray and councilmembers, and in-depth looks at cold case investigations, how the judicial process works, and more. But Homicide … Read more →