Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Killing Bicyclist in Va.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
A man who strangled a bicyclist along a popular biking and jogging path in Alexandria and later ran naked across the George Washington Memorial Parkway was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema imposed the prison term on Andre D. Suggs, 36, of Alexandria. Suggs pleaded guilty in November to the Memorial Day weekend slaying of Alexandria resident Mark Creasy on federal parkland on Daingerfield Island.
Brinkema's sentence exceeded federal guidelines that called for Suggs to receive a maximum term of about 27 years. Judges were given more discretion last year when the U.S. Supreme Court changed the guidelines from mandatory to advisory.
Creasy's sister, Susan Creasy Brooks, said yesterday that she was satisfied with the sentence and that she appreciated Suggs's apology to the victim's family in court. "I'm relieved it's all over and that the outcome was good," she said. "You never know what happens if it goes to trial."
Ivan Davis, an attorney for Suggs, said the defense had been seeking a sentence of 15 to 20 years. "Obviously, we were hoping for a better outcome to the case," he said.
Prosecutors declined to comment beyond a news release announcing the sentencing.
Creasy, 48, had been riding his bike along Marina Drive, a service road on the island, which is a 109-acre strip of land that extends into the Potomac River between Reagan National Airport and Old Town Alexandria. He was headed toward the river.
Court documents said a witness on the riverbank heard several screams and went to investigate. The witness saw Suggs sprawled over Creasy's body, confronted Suggs and then rode off on his own bicycle to seek help.
Suggs followed the witness on Creasy's bike before fleeing into the woods, court documents said. Creasy's bike was found abandoned nearby.
Less than an hour after the slaying, Alexandria police arrested a naked Suggs about a half-mile away when he crossed the parkway at Bashford Lane. A U.S. Park Police affidavit said Suggs bit one of the arresting officers and screamed, "AIDS! AIDS! I got AIDS!"
Creasy, who grew up in Buena Vista, Va., near Roanoke, was a quiet and polite man born to deaf parents, family members have said. He loved riding his bike, especially near the parkway, and would often cover 30 to 50 miles a day.
The May 28 slaying was the second recent homicide on Daingerfield Island, a venue for biking, jogging, sailing, fishing and soccer. Police have said the area is safe.
Suggs was originally charged with felony murder in Creasy's death, which could have made him eligible for the death penalty. But he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Law enforcement officials said they did not believe they could prove that the slaying was premeditated or that Suggs had intended to steal Creasy's bike, which would have been an essential element of felony murder. Suggs was disoriented during the killing and might have grabbed Creasy's bike only to get away, officials said.