Thomas Lipscomb Killed For His Television, Prosecutors Allege

Judge Karen Howze found “substantial probability” Thursday afternoon that Dennis Washington¬†murdered Thomas Lipscomb¬†in April 2011.

Prosecutors say Washington and another man, Christopher Fletcher, went to Lipscomb’s home — either to purchase marijuana or to collect on a debt, depending on witness accounts — but Washington decided to rob him of his television instead, and then ended up killing Lipscomb.

Washington, wearing black-rimmed glasses and a light brown bandage on his right forearm, wrist and hand, was ordered held Thursday. Howze ruled that his release would be too dangerous.

According to charging documents, at around 11 a.m. on April 26, 2011, Metropolitan Police Department officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Minnesota Avenue to investigate a foul odor coming from an apartment.

Officers knocked on the door repeatedly, but there was no answer. A witness with a key unlocked the door, but a chain lock prevented the door from opening fully. Through the doorway, police officers observed a body lying on the floor, and the witness forced the door open, the documents state.

Lipscomb’s body lay face up and the nearby kitchen floor was covered with blood, prosecutors say. His body had reached full rigor mortis — a stiffening of the corpse that occurs about 12 hours from death — and was partially decomposed. The bathroom tub was half full of bloody water, according to charging documents.

An autopsy later ruled the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Lipscomb had 26 lacerations to his head and eight rectangular-shaped fractures to his skull. There were also multiple lacerations to his neck, back and upper extremities, as well as fractures to his left forearm, left leg and ribs, charging documents say.

Fletcher eventually told detectives he’d been in the apartment with Washington and Lipsomb, but that he walked away when Washington began assaulting Lipscomb because “he wasn’t with that.” Fletcher later saw Washington crossing Minnesota Avenue with Lipscomb’s television, the documents say.

When Fletcher confronted Washington the next day, documents say, he saw the Lipscomb’s flatscreen TV in Washington’s apartment. “You took the old man’s TV?” Fletcher asked. “Yeah I took it,” Washington replied.

On May 25, 2011, Fletcher was shot and killed at a cookout in Southeast D.C. John Bolton was arrested for Fletcher’s murder and is awaiting trial.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 11.

Charging documents are below:

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