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Getting away with murder

In 2007, the owner of Subway Liquor II at Fifth and K streets NW was gunned down. Police identified a suspect but prosecutors declined to pursue the case, citing “numerous barriers to a successful prosecution.” (Ricky Carioti/TWP)

Fewer people are getting killed in D.C. than any time in the past 40 years, but you still stand a pretty good chance of getting away with murder here. That’s the upshot of Cheryl W. Thompson’s Washington Post investigation into the past 12 years of homicides in the city. “[E]ven as homicide trends improve — as caseloads lessen and police pursue innovative crime strategies — a hard residue remains of killings that are difficult to solve and prosecute, mainly involving drugs or retaliation,” Cheryl writes. In today’s story, she explains why many murder cases go unprosecuted and are “administratively” closed — including dead or already incarcerated suspects, self-defense, and perhaps bureaucratic politics. A former captain of the D.C. police homicide unit said prosecutors only pursue the slam dunk case, “because that’s what law firms look for — your win-loss record, not how many times you went to court.” Said the homicide section chief for the U.S. attorney’s office, prosecutors “have to have a firm belief that there’s a reasonable likelihood of being able to successfully prosecute somebody.”

In other news:

Well, that was awful (Post)

Jim Graham’s “breach of his public duty and his dishonesty about it are incompatible with holding public office” (Post editorial)

Colby King: “After reading Metro’s report, [IG Charles Willoughby] should resign in shame.” And, he adds, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability should move to sanction Graham. (Post column, PostPartisan)

When Jack Evans is complaining about how Natwar Gandhi’s handling things, you know it’s not good (Post editorial)

“Nat Gandhi … doesn’t get a free pass for the rest of his career just because he helped save the city’s finances a decade ago.” (Post column)

Corcoran officials saying they’re exploring partnerships with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University to stay on 17th Street NW (Post)

Is there hope for budget autonomy during a lame duck session? (WAMU-FM)

The Family Research Council goes to bat for suspended Gallaudet administrator (Post)

The suspension has “has undermined the cause” for gay marriage (Post editorial)

Muggers who attacked Capitol Hill man with a baseball bat may be responsible for other attacks, police say (Post, WaTimes)

D.C. health insurance exchange decision “runs counter to the ACA’s essential promise of more — not less — choice” (Post op-ed)

At Hart Middle School, DCPS tries “blended” approach to computer-based teaching (Post)

Laptops and high-speed Internet are helping improve education, says Kramer Middle School principal (Post op-ed)

Vincent Gray freezes hiring and travel in fear of “fiscal cliff” (WBJ, Examiner)

“[T]he best way to safer streets is more cameras, even with lower fines” (Post op-ed)

The former professional lives of Ethiopian cab drivers (WAMU-FM)

Hizzoner says he told Ted Leonsis to end the NHL lockout (WTOP)

First Pepco, now Washington Gas asks D.C. regulators for a rate hike (WTOP)

In white supremacist protest, “a perfect picture of Washington, and of America. Good, bad, engaged, and indifferent, all proceeding freely as they chose, with full rights and in safety.” (Post op-ed)

Contractor implicated in CBE shenanigans doesn’t have a whole lot to say (Loose Lips)

For cold cases, police hope YouTube helps (Crime Scene)

Yes, private citizens can get entangled in public corruption investigations (Examiner)

Kenyan McDuffie talks economic development (WaTimes)

Tony Williams on D.C. baseball: “I knew we would get to a great place, I just didn’t think it would be this quick.” (Washingtonian)

Imani Temple sale had nothing to do with Rev. Moon, pastor says (Post)

D.C.’s FY2012 surplus: an explainer (DCFPI)

Nat Gandhi wants to get ahead of council move to require public audits (Washingtonian)

ANC member is cleared on conflict of interest charges (Examiner)

O Street Market project moves toward completion (WBJ)

There’s now a shuttle to haul Bethesda residents to D.C. bars and back (Examiner)

Meet the eight undergrads running for ANC seats (WAMU-FM)

Metro could stand to improve its PA speakers, a board member says (WTOP)

Libertarian candidate Bruce Majors explains his bid for at least 7,500 votes (DCist)

Man who killed his mother’s boyfriend argues he acted out of rage at domestic abuse (Post)

Grand juror’s long fight for vindication heads to federal appeals court (Legal Times)

Vincent Orange responds to Colby King (Post)

D.C. man will be tried a third time in Prince Okorie killing (Post)

Forget about it, developers. It’s Tenleytown. (Housing Complex)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · October 13, 2012

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