Bad blood over a government witness’s testimony in a 1998 Washington murder trial eventually led to the witness’s own slaying in 2010. And now the man convicted in that murder will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A jury convicted District resident Anthony Waters, 44, of first-degree murder and related weapons charges in January. Prosecutors charged that Waters killed Derrick Harris, 37, because Harris had testified in a 1998 murder trial. Harris and Waters had known each other — both frequented the Barry Farm neighborhood and belonged to the area’s Parkchester crew, according to U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.’s office.
Waters and others shunned Harris over the testimony, so Harris decided to avoid his old neighborhood. When Harris visited a friend at his old stomping ground in the 2600 block of Birney Place SE on June 14, 2010, Waters confronted him. The two got into a fight, and Waters punched Harris in the face. Waters then threatened to kill Harris if he was still there when Waters returned. Both men left the scene, but Waters returned later and laid in wait for Harris to return, according to prosecutors.
When Harris returned at 9 p.m., Waters emerged from his hiding place, wearing a ski mask, and shot at him. Harris suffered six bullet wounds — one in this head and five in his back — and died at the scene.
The sentence Waters faces “reflects the depth of our commitment to punish those who target witnesses for simply telling the truth,” Machen said.