Judge Sentences Man to 12 Years for Fatal Stabbing

A defendant received a 12-year sentence for stabbing a man to death.

Back in August, Joshua Young pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed for stabbing Walter Rogers on Feb. 21 on the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue, NE. The 21-year-old defendant was initially charged with first-degree murder while armed.

During the Nov. 12 hearing, Roger’s oldest sister said her brother, a father and grandfather, would have turned 51-years-old tomorrow. She did not ask DC Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams to pass a specific sentence, but rather, asked her to “seek justice in his name.”

The prosecutor said he offered Rogers the opportunity to plead down to a manslaughter charge despite the evidence they had against him in part because he took responsibility for his actions early on. The prosecutor also said the victim was displaying “erratic behavior” that day, but emphasized that it did not justify the stabbing.

The defense sought to have the sentenced imposed under the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA), which would have effectively sealed Young’s case once he completes his requirements, but the prosecution opposed this, citing the defendant’s criminal history.

“Mr. Young should never have been on the streets that day,” the prosecutor said.

At the time of the homicide, Young was set to return to custody following the revocation of his probation in another case. But he allegedly cut off his GPS.

The prosecutor sought a 16-year sentence, but defense attorney Madalyn Harvey argued that would be too harsh. She recommended an eight-and-a-half-year sentence, saying her client lacked the resources and support he needed in his early life to be successful. He lost multiple members of his family, including his parents, at a young age. 

“He’s a nice young man,” Harvey said, “I’m amazed at how he can maintain a positive outlook.” 

Judge Williams agreed that the defendant has faced significant hardship. 

“The defendant has quite an empathetic story and background,” she said, “…to say he’s faced troubles is an understatement.” 

Judge Williams did not agree to sentence Young under the YRA, but said his counsel can ask for the YRA to be imposed if he’s successful following his release.

Young apologized to the victim’s family and friends. “I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said. He also said he is taking GED and college classes, and has been working on his anger management and seeking grief counseling.

Young’s 12-year sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release.