Man Slain In Attack on Couple in Georgetown

Alan Senitt, 27, recently moved to the District from Britain to volunteer for Mark R. Warner. He had been active in fighting anti-Semitism.
Alan Senitt, 27, recently moved to the District from Britain to volunteer for Mark R. Warner. He had been active in fighting anti-Semitism. (Courtesy Something Jewish - Courtesy Something Jewish)
By Lori Montgomery and Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 10, 2006

Three assailants who cut the throat of an aspiring politician from Britain killed him and tried to rape his female companion early yesterday in the driveway of a Georgetown mansion, police reported, after the couple had returned from a night at the movies.

The victim, Alan Senitt, 27, a Jewish activist and volunteer for former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner, died at the scene, police said. The woman, whom police declined to identify, was not injured.

Within hours, D.C. police arrested four people in connection with one of the most brutal crimes in years on the affluent streets of Georgetown and said they were looking for possible links to other recent attacks in the city.

Christopher Piper, 25, of Southeast Washington was charged with felony murder and attempted sexual assault. The others -- Jeffery Rice, 22, of Southeast; Olivia Miles, 26, of Northeast; and a 15-year-old boy from Southeast whom police declined to identify because he has been charged as a juvenile -- all face murder charges.

According to police and others, the attack occurred shortly after 2 a.m. as Senitt was seeing the woman home. The couple walked north on 31st Street NW, then turned west toward Wisconsin Avenue on Q Street NW, where the woman lives.

The two were rummaging in the trunk of a car when they were approached by three men wielding a gun and a knife. Police said Piper, who had the gun, grabbed the woman and began dragging her down the driveway. Out of view of his companions, he tried to pull off her clothes, police said. The attacker made a comment "in reference to his intent to commit a sexual assault," said Lt. Robert Glover of the police department's violent crimes branch, which is handling the investigation.

Meanwhile, the other two assailants grabbed Senitt, stabbed him and slashed his throat.

As Senitt lay dying, the three men fled with the woman's purse. The woman ran onto Q Street, flagged down a taxi and begged for help.

"She came in the street and was yelling, 'Stop! I need help! We got robbed!' " said taxi driver Ayalew Haile, who returned to Georgetown yesterday to retrieve his cab, which was trapped behind police tape for much of the day. "I stopped because you have to help someone. My passenger called the police for her."

Police received the 911 call at 2:18 a.m. and responded with paramedics almost immediately. They found several people trying to help Senitt, Glover said, "though those efforts were fruitless." Senitt's body was taken to the medical examiner's office.

The woman, a former babysitter for developer Herb Miller, lives in Miller's basement apartment. She was too upset to talk to reporters, said Miller, who was at his Maryland farm at the time of the attack. He rushed to Washington upon hearing the news. "It's very sad," he said. "So quickly to take somebody's life for nothing."

Barely three hours after the attack, at 5:30 a.m., police arrested Piper and Rice in the 2700 block of Robinson Place SE. The 15-year-old boy and Miles, who is accused of driving a green Toyota suspected to be a getaway car, surrendered to police around lunchtime, authorities said. All four are expected to be arraigned in court today.

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