A 25-year-old Oxon Hill man convicted of killing Howard University professor and restaurateur Yossi B. B. Mushala last year was sentenced yesterday in D.C. Superior Court to a minimum of 32 years in prison after Mushala's widow tearfully pleaded with the judge to place her husband's killer in prison for life.
"If you let him out so soon, he is going to do the same thing (to others) that he has done to me and my children," Mushala's widow Margaret told Judge Robert A. Shuker before he sentenced Michael B. Hutchinson.
Hutchinson was convicted in March of killing Mushala during a robbery at Mushala's Kenyon Grill restaurant on Georgia Avenue NW.
Shuker, who said Hutchinson "mercilessly and cold-bloodedly" killed Mushala even as the professor tried to talk him out of the robbery, sentenced Hutchinson to not less than 20 years to life imprisonment for first degree murder and 12 years for armed robbery, the terms to be served consecutively.
Besides Mushala's widow, the judge also heard pleas from two of Mushala's friends, William A. Banner, former chairman of Howard's philosophy department where Mushala worked, and James Ogola, who told the judge "we are not here to ask for revenge. Y. B. B. was too kind for that."
Mushala's family and friends were able to make their views known to the judge as part of a growing trend in the criminal justice system to have judges at sentencings consider the character of the victim and the loss to the victim's family, according to assistant U.S. attorney Harold L. Cushenberry, who prosecuted Hutchinson. Cushenberry said this is only the second time in recent memory that this procedure has been used at a sentencing in D.C. Superior Court.
Mushala, a native of Tanzania, was also a Voice of America commentator. He is survived by eight children.