Guilty” Plea in NE DC Gas Station Shooting

Stephen Barnes pleaded “guilty” today to one count of second-degree murder while armed in the Dec. 2011 shooting death of Stephon Way at a Northeast DC gas station. A 16-year-old girl was also injured in that shooting.

On Friday Barnes told Judge Thomas Motley that he was carrying a .45 automatic pistol and driving a silver Ford Focus on Dec. 11. He used the gun, he said, to shoot.

I just felt disrespected,” he said. “I just blanked out and I was angry.”

According to the government’s evidence, Barnes was walking from his car to a cashier at the Benning Road gas station when Way called out to him, saying something like, “What are you looking at?”

Barnes walked back to his car, got his gun, walked to Way’s vehicle, and shot four times from about three feet away. One bullet struck Way in the head, killing him. Another struck the 16-year-old girl in the face. She survived.

MPD’s Shot Spotter technology captured the sounds of the gunshots and traffic cameras recorded the license plate of the car Barnes said he was driving. Cartridge casings found on the scene matched a pistol found in Barnes’ bedroom, and the surviving victim identified him in a lineup.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors and Barnes’ defense attorney have agreed to suggest a sentence of 16 to 20 years in prison. The statutory minimum for second-degree murder while armed is five years and the maximum us 40 years.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 11.

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