The Washington Post

Second defendant charged in Capitol Hill attack acquitted, but found guilty in separate attacks and robberies in Adams Morgan

One of the men charged in the assault and robbery of a Capitol Hill man last August was acquitted in the attack Friday by a jury, but was convicted of robbing three other men later that night.

After about two days of deliberations, a D.C. Superior Court jury found Sunny Kuti, 18, of Southeast Washington, not guilty of aggravated assault while armed and armed robbery of Thomas C. Maslin as Maslin was walking home through Eastern Market on Capitol Hill after having drinks with friends and attending a Nationals game after midnight on Aug. 18.

The jury however, convicted Kuti of armed robbery, assault with intent to commit armed robbery and assault with intent to commit robbery in the attack on three men in Adams Morgan, about an hour or so after the Maslin attack.

Kuti was one of three men charged in the Aug. 18 incidents. His friend, Tommy Branch, 23, was convicted of 12 counts in a separate trial in April. Branch was later sentenced to more than 24 years in prison. Their friend, Michael Moore, 19, of Landover, who authorities said was also involved in the attacks, pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Kuti was armed with a non-working BB gun that he used to intimidate his victims. But it was Branch, prosecutors proved, who swung an aluminum bat and struck Maslin, 30, in the head after his friends took Maslin’s keys, iPhone and bank card. Maslin was in a coma for days and required several brain surgeries. The young husband and father has been left with a long-term speech disorder, aphasia, blindness in his left eye and limited use of his left arm and left leg.

Judge Robert I. Richter, who oversaw the trial, declared a mistrial on one conspiracy and four weapons charges after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Kuti is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 23. Under the court’s voluntary guidelines, Kuti could face between nine and 21 years in prison.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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