A 20-year-old District man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday in connection with two home burglaries nearly two years ago in Northeast Washington as well as the sexual assault of one of the homeowners.
Sentencing for the man, Tavon Barber, was delayed after prosecutors questioned DNA findings in evidence in one of the cases. Doubts raised about the findings in Barber’s case as well as in other cases, prompted an investigation that led to an overhaul of the District’s DNA lab.
During trial, prosecutors argued that Barber burglarized two houses within a 20-hour period. In the first burglary on June 4, 2013, prosecutors say Barber climbed through an unlocked kitchen window between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. as the two occupants slept. Prosecutors say Barber stole several items including two laptops and a set of a car keys that he later used to steal the occupant’s vehicle.
Less than a day later Barber broke into another house, prosecutors said. According to prosecutors, Barber and an accomplice, went into the bedroom of the second house where the husband and wife were sleeping. Barber held a gun on the husband and sexually assaulted the wife, prosecutors said. The husband and Barber then struggled over the gun, Barber shot at the husband, the bullet missed and entered the wall above the husband’s head, prosecutors said. Barber and his accomplice fled with two iPhones, a MacBook, a laptop and the husband’s wallet.
Barber was arrested weeks later.
A D.C. Superior Court jury found Barber guilty of first degree burglary, burglary while armed and sexual assault in the case during a 2014 trial. Judge Russell F. Canan sentenced Barber in connection with the burglaries and assault.
Barber’s sentencing was delayed after prosecutors questioned DNA findings in evidence in the case. Doubts raised about the findings in Barber’s case as well as in other cases, prompted an investigation that led to an overhaul of the District’s DNA lab.