Judge Accepts Plea Deal and Sentences Contrite Homicide Defendant

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On March 29, DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein sentenced a homicide defendant after accepting a plea deal.

Brandon Wiggins, 26, was initially charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in connection to the shooting of Damon Bell, 43, on the 1600 block of West Virginia Avenue, NE, on June 14, 2019.

Wiggins was also charged with fleeing a law enforcement officer and accessory after the fact assault with intent to kill while armed for an unrelated matter.

On January 24, Wiggins accepted a deal, which required him to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed and accessory after the fact to aggravated assault while armed in exchange for a dismissal of all other charges. Through the deal, parties agreed on a sentence of 10 years of incarceration.

Lee Smith, Wiggins’ defense attorney, stated that Wiggins is willing to accept his punishment because “punishment is due here.”

Smith further noted that he believes that Wiggins will turn his life around as he has already had time to think about his actions during the nearly five years he has been incarcerated. Wiggins has also expressed interest in school and other programming options.

“I am very emotionally sorry for my actions that day,” said Wiggins.

After accepting the plea deal, Judge Epstein noted that “Wiggins has accepted responsibility for his actions. He’s expressed remorse.”

Due to Wiggins’ criminal history and the nature of these “very serious crimes,” Judge Epstein denied the defense’s request for a sentence under the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA). The YRA allows for a young defendant’s conviction to be sealed when they successfully complete their sentencing requirements.

Judge Epstein sentenced Wiggins to eight years of incarceration for voluntary manslaughter while armed and a consecutive two years of incarceration for being an accessory after the fact with credit for time served.

After serving his time, Wiggins will be on supervised release for five years, and he will need to register as a gun offender.

No further dates were set for this matter.

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