The Washington Post

D.C. man gets 17 years in killing over dog waste

A Southeast Washington man who fatally stabbed a neighbor who he mistakenly thought let a dog soil his lawn was sentenced this week to 17 years in prison.

Ellsworth Colbert, 57, was found guilty of manslaughter in January after a week-long trial in D.C. Superior Court. Prosecutors said that Ellsworth confronted Robert L. Wright, 37, as he walked a friend’s dog in their Penn Branch neighborhood on the morning of March 4, 2012.

The two men argued as Ellsworth followed Wright to the house where the dog was kept, prosecutors said. Ellsworth lunged at the victim with a knife and stabbed him four times.

Authorities said there was no sign that the pit bull, named Macho, had actually soiled Colbert’s lawn.

Colbert was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., and will be placed on five years of supervised release after completing his prison term.

Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.