Arvel Crawford sentenced to 75 years in prison for 2008 double murder

A 23-year-old District man was sentenced to 75 years in prison Friday for the 2008 fatal shooting deaths of two men, one of whom was shot mistakenly after a bullet traveled through the first victim and struck the second.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Jennifer Anderson sentenced Arvel Crawford in connection with the shooting of Johnquan Wright, 18, Crawford’s intended victim, and Nolan Cooper, 61, an innocent bystander.

During the trial in February, prosecutor Glenn Kirschner argued that on Aug. 14, 2008, Crawford, then 18, snuck up behind Wright in the Sursum Corda neighborhood of K Street NW and shot him multiple times in the back. Prosecutors said that Crawford had suspected Wright had killed his cousin during an earlier shooting and sought vengeance.

When Crawford shot Wright, Kirschner argued, one of the bullets from his .45 caliber went through Wright’s body and struck Cooper, a homeless man who was loitering nearby.

Wright is already serving an 18-year sentence for the 2009 fatal shooting of his father during a botched robbery of a suspected drug dealer at Fourth Street and Livingston Terrace SE.

At that time, prosecutors said Crawford’s gun went off during a scuffle with Crawford’s intended victim and a bullet struck and killed his father, Arvel Alston, 40. Prosecutors said Alston participated in the robbery, along with Reginald Jones, then a uniformed, on-duty D.C. police officer who acted as a lookout in a marked cruiser. Jones later accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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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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