Murder Victim’s Sibling Speaks at Sentencing

A woman implored a DC Superior Court judge to impose a harsher sentence than what was outlined in the plea deal for the man convicted of killing her brother. 

On March 25, 2020, Zenus Epps was found on the 3500 block of A Street, SE, with a single gunshot wound to the head. The 33-year-old was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Eldred Watts, 28, was arrested one month later and charged with first-degree murder while armed.

As part of the plea deal, parties agreed that an appropriate prison sentence for this charge would be in the 10 to 13-year range. The prosecutor recommended a 13-year sentence while defense attorney Dana Page asked for 10 years. Page pointed out her client’s lack of criminal history and said his actions were not a reflection of his character.

Epps’ sister asked for a harsher penalty but Judge Neal Kravitz kept the sentence within the confines of the parties’ recommendation. He did side with the prosecution and hand down a 13-year sentence to be followed by five years of supervised release. Watts will receive credit for time served.  

The plea deal also addressed a case in which he was initially charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. In that case, Watts pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to five years. That sentence will run concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.