Murder Defendants Sentenced to 30 and 33 Years

Two co-defendants who were convicted of murder in the DC Superior Court’s first homicide trial of 2021 were sentenced to 30 and 33 years, respectively.

Nyekemia Everett, 36, and Malik Hewitt, 41, are convicted in the murder of 37-year-old Christopher Heard during an attempted robbery on April 27, 2017, on the 2300 block of Ainger Place, SE. 

On July 26, a jury found Everett guilty of first-degree murder while armed, conspiracy, attempted robbery while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, fleeing a law enforcement officer and four counts of obstruction of justice. Hewitt was found guilty of felony murder while armed, conspiracy and attempted robbery while armed. Hewitt was also found not guilty of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence and first-degree murder while armed. Everett was found not guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice.

According to the prosecution, Heard was targeted because of the money he made selling PCP after falling on hard times.

No victim impact statements were read during the Oct. 19 sentencing hearing, but Judge Neal Kravitz said he had received and read emails from the victim’s family as well as the families of the defendants. 

The prosecution requested a 47-year sentence for Everett since he was, in their words, the “architect of the plot.” They asked that Hewitt be sentenced to 37-and-one-third years for his role in contacting the victim and driving the getaway car. 

Hewitt’s attorney, Nikki Lotze, argued that the mandatory minimum for first-degree murder, 30 years, was more than sufficient for her client. She said that there have been similar cases in which defendants have served far less time. Everett’s attorney, Michael Madden, argued that his client should not be punished for using his right to go to trial.

The prosecution said that, had the defendants taken a plea deal, they likely would have faced less time. 

Judge Kravitz said that, while Everett is more culpable than Hewitt, the mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree murder made it impossible for him to address the difference in culpability in sentencing. He sentenced Everett to 33 years of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release with credit for time served. He sentenced Hewitt to 30 years of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release with credit for time served. 

The defense counsel for both defendants said they are planning to appeal the convictions.