Defendant Pleads Guilty to Deadly Stabbing in Fairlawn Neighborhood

A defendant pleaded guilty to stabbing a man to death after a car chase.

Herbert Smallwood was initially charged with first-degree murder while armed in the fatal stabbing of 46-year-old Joseph Ogunjodu on the 1600 block of 17th Place, SE, on June 30, 2021. 

During his most recent hearing on April 4, Smallwood pleaded down to second-degree murder while armed.

The deadly altercation took place after the 41-year-old defendant chased Ogunjodu in a gold Hyundai Veracruz until he crashed and flipped the white Honda Fusion Ogunjodu was in.

The Hyundai Veracruz was reported stolen from the 1400 block of H Street, NE, on June 29, 2021, according to court documents. The white Ford Fusion belonged to Ogunjodu’s significant other at the time. 

Prior to the plea paperwork being signed, Smallwood wanted to ask a question.

“Would this plea bargain be taken off the table if I get a second inquiry on the DNA?” he asked. 

DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee told Smallwood if he signs the paperwork he would waive his right to test any DNA, but it is not his decision to revoke the plea deal.

“It would cause a major delay of 28 weeks to get an inquiry and I did not talk to the decedent’s family,” the prosecutor said. “I cannot give a position on the matter. I would gladly give you the full case file of the DNA and let your defense expert examine them. This would take three weeks but this would be a faster alternative than the 28 weeks.” 

After speaking with his attorney, Anthony Matthews, Smallwood decided to waive his right to DNA testing and go forward with the guilty plea.

Judge Lee scheduled Smallwood to be sentenced on July 7.