D.C. Court of Appeals order conviction reversed and new trial for District man convicted of 2005 robbery and assault of elderly Foggy Bottom vendor

The D.C. Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of a District man in the 2005 beating and robbery of an elderly Foggy Bottom street vendor.

In their 123-page ruling, the judges said the rights of the defendant, James A. Dorsey, were violated, after Dorsey was subjected to 13 hours of interrogation and isolation and was handcuffed to his chair. Dorsey denied any involvement in the killing and repeatedly told detectives that he did not want to talk and that he wanted an attorney before he ultimately confessed, the judges said.

Dorsey, now 54, was charged with the May 3, 2005, attack on Vasiliki Fotopoulos, who was 83 at the time and was known as “Grandma” to other vendors and customers who frequented her stand outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney said his office was reviewing the ruling. Prosecutors will have to decide whether to retry Dorsey.

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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