Ex-Official in Pr. George's Gets 45 Years in Shooting

Keith A. Washington
Keith A. Washington (By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)
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By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Former Prince George's County homeland security official Keith A. Washington was sentenced to 45 years in prison yesterday for fatally shooting one unarmed furniture deliveryman and wounding another at his Accokeek home last year.

Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Whalen said the evidence contradicted Washington's claim that he was under attack by the two larger men when he opened fire. "There wasn't one discernible injury [on Washington] to any of the medical personnel who examined him," said the judge, who imposed a term five years longer than prosecutors had sought.

Washington, who was also a county police officer at the time of the shooting, addressed the court for more than 10 minutes, apologizing to his family and friends for putting them through what he called a "spectacle." He spoke of his effort to live with "courage and integrity," and he cited historical figures, including Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois, Crispus Attucks, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Washington, 46, admitted no wrongdoing. At one point, he turned to Marilynn Clark, mother of slain deliveryman Brandon Clark, and said, "I did not murder your son."

"I feel your pain," he said. "No parent should ever have to bury a child. . . . I don't want you to go away thinking some monster shot your son and is indifferent to his death."

Turning to Robert White, the surviving deliveryman, Washington said, "I want you to know, Mr. White, I have no animosity towards you. I feel your pain also."

Later, as Washington was led out of the courtroom, he appeared to mouth the words "I'm okay" to his wife, Stacey Washington, and their daughter.

Stacey Washington said after the hearing: "Keith Washington is now and will forever be my hero. I saw what happened. I saw him being beaten. He is a protector and a defender."

Washington's lawyers, who had requested that he be given a five-year term, declined to comment.

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said he thought the sentence was appropriate. He said Washington opened fire "basically because furniture was delivered late."

Clark and White were at Washington's home in Accokeek on Jan. 24, 2007, to swap one set of Marlo Furniture bed rails for another. An argument broke out between the men and Washington, who opened fire. Clark, 22, died nine days later. White, 37, was wounded.

During the trial in February, White testified that he and Clark did nothing to provoke the shooting. He said Washington, already angry that he had been waiting all day for the delivery, became enraged when Clark asked why the original set of bed rails wasn't dismantled. Washington replied, "[Expletive], you telling me what to do in my house?" White testified.

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