Three District men pleaded guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of a man who was walking near the Shaw-Howard University Metro station in August 2015 when he was caught in the crossfire between members of rival neighborhood gangs.
Marcus King, 22, of Northwest Washington, Andrew Dudley, 22, of Northeast and Christopher Proctor, 28, of Northwest each pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Cleveland native Matthew Shlonsky, a financial analyst and a 2014 American University graduate.
Authorities say that on the afternoon of Aug. 15, 2015, Shlonsky had emerged from an Uber ride near the bustling Seventh and S streets NW on his way to the Howard Theatre to see a show with friends when he was shot. All three men opened fire that afternoon, prosecutors said, and it is not clear whose bullet struck Shlonsky.
After the hearing in D.C. Superior Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Misler said the shooting that killed Shlonsky also endangered many others.
“As part of this plea, these men are not just accepting responsibility for the death of an innocent bystander, but they are also accepting responsibility for those individuals who could have just as easily been injured or suffer the same tragic fate as Mr. Shlonsky that summer afternoon,” Misler said.
In court, Misler said King and Proctor were members of a Ninth Street neighborhood gang and were on the corner that afternoon when they saw Dudley drive by in a red Chrysler 300 sedan.
Dudley, who previously had an argument with another member of King and Proctor’s gang, had an arm out of the sunroof and was holding a gun, authorities said. Prosecutors say King and Proctor fired about 17 shots from .40-caliber semiautomatic weapons at Dudley as Dudley stopped the car, then fired shots at the two men.
Shlonsky was walking north in the 1800 block of Seventh Street when one of the bullets pierced his chest.
Though they could not determine whose bullet struck Shlonsky, prosecutors prosecuted the men under the District’s urban- gun-battle theory, which sets out that anyone who fires a weapon at the time of a fatal shooting can be charged with murder.
As part of the plea deal, Proctor faces between 12 and 14 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon. Dudley faces 18½ years for voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and King faces 15 to 20 years for voluntary manslaughter and assault with a dangerous weapon. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to dismiss other remaining charges.
Dudley’s sentence will also include a May 17 assault on another D.C. jail inmate.
The men are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 13 by Judge Juliet J. McKenna.
Kevin Mosley, King’s attorney, asked McKenna to sentence his client under the District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act. The law was designed for criminals under the age of 22 to allow for shorter sentences and the opportunity for offenders to emerge with no criminal record if they successfully complete their sentence and probation period.
King’s co-defendants had already had previous cases under the Youth Rehabilitation Act. Proctor had received two sentences under the act, including one for attempted theft in 2010. Dudley had received three sentences under the act, including one in 2014 for escaping from a youth detention facility.