Press Club
A 2018 surveillance image of Columbia Pike rape suspect Salodus Zeloter Hicks (photo courtesy ACPD)

A D.C. man convicted of raping a massage therapist in a Columbia Pike apartment building in 2018 has been sentenced to life in prison.

It was the second rape conviction for 63-year-old Salodus Zeloter Hicks, thus leading to the lengthy sentence from Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo.

Hicks was arrested less than a week after the crime, after a 16-hour standoff at a home in Northwest D.C. Arlington County police were assisted by D.C. police and the FBI; Hicks was safely apprehended after he finally surrendered.

In a statement, Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn called Hicks “a sexual predator [who] will never have the opportunity to target another member of our community.” Arlington’s top prosecutor, Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, said the sentence “is severe, but warranted.”

More from a county press release, below.

After being found guilty by an Arlington County jury in September, Salodus Zeloter Hicks, 63, of Washington D.C. was sentenced on Friday, February 25, 2022, to life in prison plus 12 months for a rape that occurred in 2018. Judge DiMatteo imposed a sentence of life in prison on the charge of rape (2nd offense) and 12 months on the charge of assault & battery.

At approximately 4:02 p.m. on September 17, 2018, police responded to the 5500 block of Columbia Pike for the late report of a rape. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and suspect made contact through an online advertisement for massage therapy. After the suspect arrived for the massage appointment, he asked for sexual services and when the victim refused, he strangled and raped her.

Following the assault, the suspect fled the scene but was captured on surveillance video. A press release requesting the public’s assistance helped identify Hicks as the suspect. On the evening of September 26, 2018, detectives attempted to execute search and arrest warrants on the suspect at his residence in NW Washington, D.C. The suspect refused to exit the residence and following a 16-hour barricade, he surrendered and was taken into police custody with assistance by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Metropolitan Police Department. Once in custody, the search warrant was executed and additional evidence linking him to the rape was recovered.

“Mr. Hicks never made any statements about what occurred, but the evidence did all the talking for him,” said Chief Andy Penn. “The persistent investigative work and prosecution led to an ultimate sentence that ensures a sexual predator will never have the opportunity to target another member of our community.”

“I’m grateful to the survivor for her courage in testifying against her attacker, and to the police and our trial team for their dedication in investigating and prosecuting the case,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. “A life sentence is severe, but warranted, because Mr. Hicks previously had been convicted of rape. Our duty first, last, and always is to protect the community from the sort of harm Mr. Hicks caused while affording him a fair trial, and we did that.”

Morning Notes

The Rosslyn Christmas tree (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Koch Groups Moving to Ballston — “A group of nonprofits founded and supported in part by billionaire Charles Koch are moving to a combined 185K SF in the Ballston Exchange office complex owned by Jamestown, sources confirmed to Bisnow. Stand Together, Americans for Prosperity and the Charles Koch Institute, in addition to affiliated organizations, plan to occupy the space in 2023, a source familiar with the deal said.” [Bisnow]

Football and History in Halls Hill — “They were there — about a hundred mostly Black residents and former residents, gathered together on this sunny, crisp Thanksgiving morning — for the neighborhood’s annual Turkey Bowl… For more than fifty years, so-called ‘Old Heads’ in maroon jerseys and ‘Young Heads’ in yellow have squared off in this Halls Hill tradition — ‘since before Martin Luther King’s birthday was a holiday,’ says one longtime resident, Paul Terry, who has been living in Halls Hill since 1968. ‘It’s always fun.'” [DCist]

Parent Group Demands Schools Stay Open — “‘Students belong in school. Closing school buildings did nothing to reduce or mitigate spread the first time we tried it, and caused extensive harm that has yet to be remedied,’ said Arlington Parents for Education in a Dec. 21 statement. Prior to departing on a two-week holiday period, school-system leaders gave no inkling that a return to online-learning was anticipated, although Superintendent Francisco Durán did encourage families to behave responsibly over the holidays so schools could remain open in the new year.” [Sun Gazette]

Long-Time Local Judge Retires — “Having served the people of his hometown in judicial robes for a quarter-century, George Varoutsos was honored Dec. 17 as that tenure came to an end. Varoutsos – a judge of the 17th Judicial District Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (serving Arlington and Falls Church) since 1998 – was lauded by colleagues and civic leaders during a ceremony held at the Arlington County Justice Center.” [Sun Gazette]

No Candidates for Dem PR and Equity Roles — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s upcoming leadership election will feature three contested races, eight unopposed races and three where no one filed by the Dec. 10 deadline… Three elected positions – voter-support chair, press-and-PR chair and inclusion-and-equity chair – did not receive any candidates and will be filled later.” [Sun Gazette, Sun Gazette]

It’s Thursday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 41. Sunrise at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 4:50 p.m. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, will be partly sunny, with a high near 53, with rain possible overnight and on Christmas Day. [Weather.gov]

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Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are similarities between being a judge in a courtroom and an actor on stage.

“It’s all really about trying to understand that all human beings are complex,” Judge William T. Newman, Jr. tells ARLnow. “They are not all good and they are not all bad.”

Newman is a judge, an actor, and one half of a legit Washington power couple. He’s the long-time Chief Judge of Arlington County Circuit Court who’s presided over some of Arlington’s most well-known cases — as well as a veteran stage actor who’s appeared in several local productions over the years. In his dual roles, he’s known for his authoritativeness, clarity, and booming voice.

But this month the multifaceted Newman is doing something he’s never done before: starring in a one-man show.

The judge is portraying the legendary playwright August Wilson in the autobiographical How I Learned What I Learned. Produced by Arlington’s Avant Bard Theatre and staged at Gunston Arts Center, performances will be running through Dec. 19.

Program for August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned (via Avant Bard)

“It’s quite a challenge,” Newman says about being the solo performer on stage. “It’s you just there. It’s the raw essence of who you are up there.”

He notes the difficulty in holding the audience’s attention, avoiding becoming one-dimensional, and being able to shift tone on a dime.

“It’s trying to set different levels. Some of it is funny, some of it is sad,” he says. “You have to be ready to do the next thing, which may be totally the opposite.”

How I Learned What I Learned, published shortly before Wilson’s death in 2005, is an autobiographical look into the writer’s life and what it meant to be a Black artist in the 20th century. Wilson wrote the lead role for himself, which provides another unique challenge for Newman.

“August wasn’t an actor. He was a writer. So, in a sense, it’s trying to do this without overdoing it,” he says. “He’s a story teller and I’m trying to tell his story.”

Despite much of the play taking place in the mid-20th century, there’s plenty in the material that remains very relevant today. Citing the Black Lives Matter movement and last year’s protests over the killing of George Floyd, Newman calls Wilson’s work “prophetic” in that it deals with inequality and the country’s inability to cope with its history.

August was really talking about how we need to come together as a community, as both Black and white,” he says. “To look at each other and not be as wary of each other.”

Newman notes that he completely agrees with Wilson’s assessment that we are “victims of our history.”

This isn’t Newman’s first show with the three-decade-old Avant Bard Theater (it was previously known as the Washington Shakespeare Company). In 2017, he starred as Oedipus in the theater’s production of The Gospel at Colonus.

Judge William T. Newman in “The Gospel at Colonus” (Photo by DJ Corey Photography)

This is his first time back on stage in about two years, however. Like it is for many local performing arts organizations, this holiday season is a greatly-anticipated return to performing in front of live audiences.

While Newman is very much looking forward to it, he admits he forgot how much it can take out of him both in terms of time, focus, and energy. Acting is about bringing life experiences to a role, he says, which can be exhausting.

For Newman, some of those life experiences come from the courtroom, where he hears cases and listens to people profess their innocence all day long. He says his acting and engaging in the arts brings “a sense of humanity” to his day job.

In Wilson’s writings, there are plenty of “shady” characters, but Newman knows those characters come from real life.

“There’s a human element to everything that they do… It’s part of what goes on in life,” says Newman. “These are real people, who do these real things, and say these real things.”

How I Learned What I Learned runs Thursdays through Sundays, from Dec. 1-19 at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two (2700 S. Lang Street). This article was funded by the ARLnow Press Club and first appeared in Saturday’s club newsletter.

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Morning Notes

Redevelopment Proposal Near Rosslyn — “The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is moving forward with a proposal it previewed to redevelop part of the Marbella Apartments. APAH has filed a zoning application to replace 72 units across a pair of low-rise apartment buildings at 1300 and 1305 N. Pierce Street (map) with two 12-story buildings, delivering a total of 561 affordable units.” [UrbanTurf]

Vision Zero Plan Approved — “Arlington County Board approved a five-year Vision Zero action plan over the weekend, joining other jurisdictions throughout the region that are trying to curb traffic fatalities. The county’s goal is to reach zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Currently, Arlington has about four traffic fatalities per year and about 55 severe crashes.” [GGWash, Sun Gazette]

Trump Aides Are Still Working in Arlington — “Taxpayers are still footing the bill for Donald Trump to pay aides, Business Insider reported Monday… For Trump, accepting public money has meant employing 10 transition aides in Palm Beach, Florida — where Trump has been living since he left the White House — and another seven aides in an office building in Arlington, Virginia.” [Raw Story]

Metrobus Service Changes Planned — Adjustments are coming to numerous Metrobus routes starting Sunday, June 6. Service is being restored to a number of routes, but one notable pandemic-era service reduction will stay in place: the 16Y, a limited-stop service route which once connected Columbia Pike stops to McPherson Square in D.C., will remain out of service. [WMATA]

Longtime Arlington Judge Honored — “Its presentation was due to the pandemic, but Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman Jr. on May 11 was honored with the 2019 Harry L. Carrico Outstanding Career Service Award by the Judicial Council of Virginia. The award is presented annually to a Virginia jurist who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in court administration while exhibiting the traits of integrity, honest, courtesy, impartiality and wisdom.” [Sun Gazette]

YHS Dominating in Boys Lacrosse — “Pick one: Stingy defense; a potent, high-scoring offense; scads of talent, especially at midfield; depth and experience with 17 seniors; versatility; and a willingness to work hard, achieve and improve. That describes this season’s undefeated Yorktown Patriots high-schoolboys lacrosse team, which began the week with a dominating 6-0 record. The Patriots’ accomplishments include a shutout and outscoring opponents 96-18.” [Sun Gazette]

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(Updated at noon) The Arlington County Circuit Court rejected a plea bargain that would place a Maryland man on two years of probation for allegedly bringing 50 pounds of marijuana and 400 cartridges of hashish oil into the county.

The suspect is accused of arriving on a flight to Reagan National Airport in November 2018 with a checked bag stuffed with drugs. He was arrested by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority at baggage claim.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and the attorney representing the alleged drug carrier agreed that the defendant would plead guilty to two felony charges and be placed on probation, wrote the presiding judge. After completing the probation and 200 hours of community service, he would be able to withdraw the pleas to the felony charges and instead plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges while having a $100 fine imposed but then suspended.

Judge Daniel Fiore, II, in a memorandum of opinion that was obtained by ARLnow, said the punishment would not deter the defendant, or anyone else, from carrying large amounts of drugs into Virginia for distribution.

“Virginia jurisprudence has long and consistently recognized deterrence as means for a court to determine an appropriate sentence, no matter the criminal statute violated,” Fiore wrote. “Deterrence disincentives unlawful behavior both for the individual and for society.”

Excerpts of Fiore’s opinion were published in late September in Virginia Lawyers Weekly. A call to judge’s chambers was not returned. Dehghani-Tafti told ARLnow that she could not comment on the case at this point.

This rejected bargain is part of a larger theater taking place across the nation, as some prosecutors are changing their approach to drug crimes and judges are fighting back. The tug-of-war reached Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who signed a law last month that would require judges to dismiss charges when both the prosecution and defense agree to a bargain or deal.

Fiore wrote that he rejected the bargain in part because the prosecution and defense had understated how much marijuana and hashish the defendant had. The amounts, once disclosed, merited prison sentences between five and 40 years and fines of up to $500,000, Fiore wrote.

Focusing on the quantity of drugs strikes Public Defender Brad Haywood as a bit naive, considering the defendant was likely a low-level “drug mule” put in a high-risk situation by higher-level drug traffickers. He might not have known the quantity of drugs he was carrying, as mules often do not, Haywood said in an email, adding that mules are often thought of as victims of drug trafficking.

“They are under duress; fearful for their safety, desperate for money, or desperate to feed their own addictions,” he said. “They are easy to manipulate precisely because they are suffering. They can even be pressured into doing something as irrational as traveling on a plane with tons of narcotics.”

Given the risk involved, mules are often caught, Haywood said. Instead of harshly prosecuting mules, however, the government frequently offers them leniency so they can help apprehend the supplier.

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Morning Notes

No Citations for Mass Gatherings in Arlington — “Gov. Ralph Northam is limiting social gatherings to 50% of event space capacity, or 250 people, whichever number is smaller. A spokesperson for Arlington County says ‘there have been no reports of social gatherings of this size’ in the locality. Arlington County’s police department has not issued any citations for mass gatherings, and has not levied any fines for people who flout rules regarding mask-wearing.” [DCist]

Prosecutor Explains Fight With Judges — “Taking the court to court to preserve the discretion of this office is the only way I know to protect the will of the voters who elected me. This is how we weave the quilt of criminal justice reform: each locality using its voice to demand change and put its values into elected offices. Town by town, county by county, we must fight to shape the communities in which we want to live.” [Washington Post]

Wardian, District Taco Donate to School — “Ultramarathoner Mike Wardian, who recently ran a 62-mile run to all 12 DMV-area District Taco locations, asked District Taco to donate the proceeds of the run to Barrett students and families in need. District Taco employees made and delivered 200 burritos to over 100 Barrett families.” [Press Release]

Parking Blocked Off For Clarendon Bar Lines — A number of nightlife hotspots in Clarendon have been working with the county’s Arlington Restaurant Initiative to better space out patrons waiting in line. This past weekend, the county blocked off portions of lanes and some parking spots around bars to allow more physical distancing around the lines. [Twitter, Twitter]

Thousands Left Behind at DCA Security Lines — “A new… Transportation Security Administration report gives the amount of coins and bills left behind at security checkpoints at airports around the country, including Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. The amount unclaimed at checkpoints at National in the last fiscal year was $13,207.46.” [Washington Post]

Armed Robbery Near Courthouse — “The victim was sitting inside his parked vehicle when the suspect vehicle, which was occupied four times, pulled alongside him. Suspect One approached the victim, displayed a firearm and commanded the victim to exit his vehicle, lay on the ground and empty his pockets. Suspect Two then stole the victim’s personal belongings. Suspect One entered the victim’s vehicle and rummaged through items. The suspects fled the scene after an unrelated vehicle drove by the incident.” [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

Prosecutor Files Petition Against Judges — “A northern Virginia prosecutor who says her county’s judges are infringing on her discretion to dismiss charges and enter plea bargains is asking the state Supreme Court to intervene on her behalf. Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti filed a petition Friday asking the court for a relief from a policy imposed by the county’s four Circuit Court judges.” [Associated Press]

New BBQ Pop-Up Coming to Pentagon City — “In their spare time [chefs Kevin Tien and Scott Chung] dreamed up Wild Tiger BBQ, which launches Thursday, August 20 next to Bun’d Up at Pentagon Row in Arlington. The pop-up will run Thursday through Saturday for the first few weeks.” [Washingtonian]

‘Bumper Crop of Mosquitos’ — “With the floods of summer come the pests of summer — bloodsucking mosquitoes. It takes several days to a couple of weeks for mosquitoes to hatch, molt and fly out of floodwater, but the swarms eventually arrive, in greater numbers than before the flood. After the recent flooding from thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Isaias in the Washington region, a bumper crop of mosquitoes has emerged.” [Washington Post]

Retired Colonel Helps With COVID Response — “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel David Ashley quickly found his planned spring and summer mountain climbing trips canceled. He spent about a week doing projects around his Arlington home, but after 27 years in the military, he realized he need something else, something with more purpose.” [Arlington County]

Cab Exec’s Offensive Post Makes Headlines — “An elected town council member in Strasburg, Va., who also is chairman of the 6th Congressional District’s Republican Committee admitted this week that he posted, then removed, a sexually offensive meme targeted at Sen. Kamala D. Harris… [John] Massoud, who is vice president of Arlington’s Blue Top taxi service and was an unsuccessful candidate against ex-Del. Bob Brink for a House of Delegates seat from Arlington in 1997 and 1999, moved to the Shenandoah Valley about 10 years ago.” [Washington Post]

Analysis of Rents Near Metro Stations — “The most expensive rents ($2,200 and up) are found in areas of Arlington and Washington, DC. Rent near the Ballston-MU station is in the mid-range among DC Metro stops. But while the median price increased near Court House, it decreased near Ballston-MU, according to the analysis. The median rent for a one-bedroom unit near Ballston-MU is $1,975, a 1.3 percent decrease from 2019.” [Patch]

Clement Rips Dems for Redistricting Stance — “An independent candidate for Arlington County Board has criticized the Arlington County Democratic Committee for its opposition to a nonpartisan-redistricting constitutional amendment on the state ballot in November. Audrey Clement, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey for County Board, said the Democrats’ vote seems disingenuous for a party that claims to be about good government.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Makes Top Travel Destination List — “For all the talk of a move to small, less densely populated destinations, Hotwire also ranked much bigger cities. Its ‘midsize must see’ picks were St. Louis; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Arlington, Virginia; Tucson, Arizona; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Miami; and Cincinnati.” [CNBC]

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(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) Arlington residents will select a new County Board member on July 7, following the resignation of the late Erik Gutshall.

Gutshall resigned from the Board just 10 days before passing away from brain cancer on Thursday, April 16.

Earlier this afternoon, Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman, Jr. set Tuesday, July 7 as the special election date for Gutshall’s successor, who serve out the rest of his term through the end of 2021.

State law “provides that the special election shall be held not less than sixty days and not more than eighty days after the occurrence of the vacancy,” Newman noted in his decision. It cannot be held “within the fifty-five days prior to a general or primary election.” The statewide Virginia non-presidential primary this year is scheduled for June 23.

Late Friday afternoon, in an emergency meeting, Arlington’s Electoral Board set a candidate filing deadline of Friday, May 8.

Following the selection of the filing deadline, the Arlington County Democratic Committee announced that it would be holding a closed caucus among its Steering Committee and County Committee members, unless Gov. Ralph Northam and the state legislature act to push the special election date back.

More from an email sent by the local party to members:

Arlington Democrats believe a vote-by-mail nomination caucus open to all Democratic registered voters in Arlington would best serve the interests of democracy and Arlington voters in this unprecedented time of public health crisis. But, in order to meet the aggressive timeline set by the laws of Virginia, it is impossible to facilitate a vote-by-mail nomination process. This leaves the Arlington Democrats with no option but to select the Democratic nominee through a closed virtual caucus, which involves a vote by the members of its Steering Committee and County Committee that will conclude by May 7.

Arlington Democrats is prepared to transform this virtual nomination process — which is detailed in the Arlington Democrats’ new special election webpage — into a vote-by-mail process open to all Democratic registered voters in Arlington if the nomination period is extended to encompass a two-month period. Arlington Democrats is actively exploring options to achieve this extension, including through consultation with multiple legal counsel.

Arlington Democrats also is asking Governor Northam and the General Assembly to move the special election date so that political parties have the ability to hold an open nomination process, while respecting necessary social distancing measures. Please help us to fight for the voting rights of Arlington voters by signing this petition — act today!

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Morning Notes

Reminder: Tap Water Change Today — “The District of Columbia, Arlington County and northeastern Fairfax County will clean out their tap water network starting Monday — a safe, annual process. Service continues uninterrupted during the process, which runs from March 30 through May 4. During that time, drinking water in the may taste slightly different. But the purification process remains unchanged and the water is essentially unchanged.” [ARLnow]

Jail Takes Extra Precautions — “We have created a unit that is strictly for all new individuals that are committed to the jail. These individuals are ‘quarantined’ from the rest of the population for an initial 14 days and checked daily by our Medical Staff. With the Detention Center population being low, we were able to move inmates around, creating the safest environment for those individuals that have been remanded to our custody and for new individuals entering the facility.” [Arlington County]

Human Services from a Distance — “Arlington’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is taking steps to provide services that don’t require in-person visits in an effort to contribute to the community slowdown of the spread of COVID-19.” [Arlington County]

Post Editorial Assails Arlington Judges — “Parisa Dehghani-Tafti last fall ran for commonwealth’s attorney on a promise of criminal justice reform, and voters in Arlington County and Falls Church chose her — and that platform — over the longtime, tough-on-crime incumbent. Now her efforts to deliver on her promise of progressive justice have run into opposition from judges who have taken highly unusual — and some say inappropriate — steps to undermine her discretion as the jurisdiction’s top elected prosecutor.” [Washington Post]

Shirlington Circle Closure in Place — “The northern section of the Shirlington Circle bridge over the general purpose and express lanes on I-395 will close from 10 p.m., Sunday, March 29 until midnight, Wednesday night, April 1… Travelers driving north on the I-395 general purpose lanes will not be able to access Shirlington from Exit 6.” [Press Release]

New Cap Gets Arlington Orientation — “When trying to adjust to life in a new city, it can be nice to have a familiar face around to help you. That’s exactly what Brenden Dillon had after he was traded to the Capitals in Joel Ward… Dillon and Ward were teammates in San Jose for three seasons from 2015 to 2018. Dillon credited Ward for helping him get acclimated to Arlington, Va. and the Washington area.” [NBC Sports Washington]

Tree Advocates Worry About Fate of Big Oak — “In the latest in Arlington’s tree wars, homeowners at 5920 N. 35th St. joined with passionate volunteers from the Arlington Tree Action Group to sound alarms over the threat to a towering water oak outside their home of 28 years, which might soon be a tear-down… The owners believe it is Arlington’s tallest outside the national cemetery.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Daniel T. Lopez was ceremonially sworn in last Friday (May 17) as a General District Court judge, becoming the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington County.

“I’m very proud to represent my community,” Lopez told ARLnow.

Michael F. Devine, a circuit court judge for the 19th Circuit in Fairfax County, administered the investiture ceremony.

Lopez and his family were joined by members of the Arlington County Bar Association, as well as Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th), who helped shepherd his nomination through the General Assembly.

“I was honored to be on hand with Delegate Hope to present the Commission at the Investiture of Daniel Lopez as a Judge of the General District Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,” said Del. Lopez, who shares a last name with but is not related to the new judge. “Judge Lopez is immensely qualified and a truly wonderful person. If his work over the years as a substitute judge is any indication, he will be an exceptional judge for our community for years to come.”

A 22-year Arlington resident, Judge Lopez had previously served as a substitute judge in the Circuit Court and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts. He said he was delighted to become a full-time judge.

“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for years,” he said.

Lopez was also pleased to be the first Latino to serve as a judge in Arlington. Judges should reflect the community they serve in, he said, and having a Latino on the bench in such a diverse county was a sign of great progress.

Friday’s investiture ceremony was not Lopez’s official swearing in. That will take place 3o days prior to July 1, when he signs the oath of office and begins his six-year term on the General District Court bench. Lopez will succeed Judge Richard McCue, who is retiring.

“My job is to uphold the Constitution and to be fair and impartial, and make sure everyone is welcomed and respected in the courtroom,” he said.

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David Black (photo courtesy ACPD)David Black, who was convicted in November of murdering his estranged wife in her home near Pentagon City, will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.

The sentence, which was recommended by the jury, was confirmed by an Arlington Circuit Court judge Wednesday afternoon.

Black lived just blocks away from his wife, Bonnie Delgado Black, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Prosecutors say he broke into her home on April 17, 2015 and stabbed her to death.

The murder scene was discovered after neighbors found Black’s two young children wandering around outside the home that morning.

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:

David Black, 45, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to two consecutive life terms in prison for the 2015 murder of Bonnie Black.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

On April 17, 2015, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of 18th Street S. after two concerned citizens located the Black children alone outside their residence and called police for assistance. Arriving officers located Bonnie Black deceased from an apparent stabbing inside the residence. Detectives began an intensive investigation revealing that Bonnie Black was the victim of domestic violence.

David Black, the estranged husband of Bonnie Black, was taken into custody in October 2015 pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charged him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony. On November 8, 2016, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding David Black guilty on both counts.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “The imposition of two life sentences for the murder of Bonnie Black speaks volumes about our community’s views when it comes to domestic violence.  We’re grateful to Judge Newman and the jury for their hard work, deep consideration and attention throughout a very difficult trial.”

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “This horrific murder personalized the investigation for the entire Criminal Investigations Section, many of whom had children themselves. They worked relentlessly for the cause of justice. The complex investigation, prosecution and ultimate conviction were possible because of a strong partnership between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately nothing can bring Bonnie Black back to her loving family colleagues and friends but it is our fervent hope that we have been able to provide them with some closure.”

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