Guilty Plea in Stabbing Death of Elaine Coleman

John Smith pleaded guilty this morning to one count of second-degree murder while armed in the stabbing death of Elaine Coleman.

Smith, 46, could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison, said Judge Robert Morin, who heard the case.

Prosecutor Charles Cobb told Morin that had the case gone to trial, the government would have proved that Smith stabbed Coleman multiple times sometime between Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, killing her.

When asked by Judge Morin if that was what happened, Smith replied “yes it was.”

According to charging documents, Coleman, 47, was found dead in her apartment on Dec. 4. Her body was so badly injured that responding medics initially believed she had been shot in the face. An autopsy revealed that she had been stabbed— 41 times— and had been nearly decapitated. Some of the wounds could have been inflicted using a pair of scissors, the medical examiner noted.

Charging documents elaborate that Smith pleaded guilty in Baltimore in 2005 to a count of manslaughter. He had been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in a stabbing death in which a pair of scissors was used as the murder weapon.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 30 at 11 a.m.

A press release from the USAO has been added below.

Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty to Murder In December 2011 Slaying in Northeast Washington-Victim Was Stabbed Multiple Times-

WASHINGTON - John Smith, 46, of Baltimore Md., pled guilty today to a charge of second degree murder while armed in connection with the recent slaying of a woman in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

Smith pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and will be sentenced on March 30, 2012, by the Honorable Robert E. Morin. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

At the plea hearing, Smith admitted that between December 2, 2011, and December 3, 2011, he was with the decedent, Elaine Coleman, 47, inside her home in the 500 block of 23rd Place SE. During this time, he stabbed the victim numerous times, and she died as a result of her injuries. Smith was arrested on January 3, 2012.

In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended those who worked on the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including Detectives Anthony Patterson, Paul Regan, Douglas Carlson Sean Cain, and Anthony Paci, and Crime Scene Search Officer Curtis Lancaster. He also commended Paralegal Specialist Kelly Blakeney and Victim Witness Advocate Tamara Ince of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Finally, he praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Cobb, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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