The Washington Post

District man sentenced to 70 years to life in prison for 2000 fatal shooting following retrial

A District man was sentenced Tuesday to 70 years to life in prison for the fatal shootings of two victims 12 years ago in front of a Southeast Washington high school.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Motley sentenced Michael Wonson, 34, in the May 17, 2000, killings of Charles Jackson, 21, and Ivory Harrison, 21. The shootings happened near the campus of Eastern High School in the 1800 block of East Capital Street SE.

In a 2002 trial, Wonson and his previous co-defendant, Ronald Brisbon, were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder while armed after prosecutors argued that the men sought out the victims following an altercation at a nightclub days earlier.

Prosecutors said Wonson and Brisbon, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, firedmore than 40 rounds from inside a pickup truck into a crowd standing near the school.

In 2006, both men appealed their convictions to the D.C. Appeals Court. Brisbon argued that a videotaped confession he made to detectives was “involuntary” and should not have been used in trial. Wonson argued his case should have been severed from Brisbon’s because in that video-taped confession, Brisbon implicated Wonson as his accomplice.

In 2008, the court rejected Brisbon's claim but granted Wonson a new trial. A jury convicted him of the same charges in May.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.


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