Caviness-Bey Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Killing of Osman Al-Akbar

A jury found Rashid Caviness-Bey guilty Monday of second-degree murder in connection with the 2011 shooting death of 19-year-old Osman Al-Akbar.

Jurors deliberated for two days before announcing their verdict around 4:20 p.m. Monday. Caviness-Bey was charged with first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder; second-degree murder is a lesser charge. He was also found guilty of carrying a pistol without a license.

In the early morning hours of August 17, 2011, Al-Akbar was shot and killed in the 2600 block of University Place Northwest; he suffered four gunshot wounds: three “independently survivable” wounds to the back and one wound to the face.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Fulton argued at trial that Caviness-Bey and two others had planned to rob Al-Akbar, and that the fatal shooting was the tragic consequence. Caviness-Bey’s defense attorneys maintained, though, that his presence near the crime scene at the time of the murder was a coincidence.

Metropolitan Police discovered Caviness-Bey and a juvenile suspect hiding in a nearby alley after arriving at the crime scene and searching the area; two firearms and several articles of clothing were recovered in the same alley. Forensic testing later matched Caviness-Bey to a black vinyl jacket found at the scene.

Fingerprints and DNA recovered from the scene could not be matched to Caviness-Bey.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office is below.

District Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder While Armed In 2011 Slaying in Northwest Washington -Victim, 19, Was Shot Four Times in an Attempted Robbery-

WASHINGTON – Rashid Caviness-Bey, 20, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury today of charges stemming from a murder that took place during an attempted armed robbery in Northwest Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

Caviness-Bey was found guilty by a jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia of charges of second-degree murder while armed and carrying a pistol without a license in the slaying of 19-year old Osman Al-Akbar. The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz scheduled sentencing for Aug. 2, 2013.

According to the government’s evidence, on Aug. 17, 2011, at about 1:30 a.m., Mr. Al-Akbar bicycled toward his home after visiting his girlfriend’s house. As he was riding home, he talked on his cell phone with his girlfriend. At the same time, Caviness-Bey and two teenagers emerged from Girard Park near the 2600 block of University Place NW. They carried two guns and dressed in a manner to conceal themselves.

Mr. Al-Akbar encountered Caviness-Bey and the two teenagers in the 2600 block of University Place NW, where they tried to rob him. During the encounter, Mr. Al-Akbar was shot three times in the back. After he fell to the street, dying, he was shot a fourth time in the face with a second gun. Mr. Al-Akbar died in the street next to his bicycle and personal belongings, which were scattered around him.

Caviness-Bey and the teenagers fled after the shooting. One of the teenagers and Caviness-Bey fled into a dead-end alley behind an apartment building at the corner of 15th and Fuller Streets NW. Along the way, witnesses saw them discard the clothing they had worn to conceal themselves during the robbery. One of the witnesses also spotted them with a gun. The witness alerted the police to the alley that Caviness-Bey and the teenager ran into. The police found Caviness-Bey and the teenager hiding at the bottom of a basement stairwell. Nearby, the police found the two guns used to kill Mr. Al-Akbar. The police also found the discarded clothing in the alley and in the trash receptacles near the alley.

In announcing the guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of the detectives of the Criminal Investigations Division, crime scene officers, and the Third Police District of the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Park Police. He also expressed appreciation to those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Ortwein (now with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan), who secured the indictment in the case; Criminal Investigator Durand Odom; Jelahn Stewart, Michael Hailey, David Foster, Marcia Rinker, Melissa Milam, and Christina Principe, all of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit; Kimberly Smith, William Henderson, and Leif Hickling of the Litigation Technology Unit, Paralegal Specialists Marian Russell and Ethel Noble; the supervisors of the Appellate Division; and Librarian Lisa Kosow. Finally, he praised the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana L. Fulton who tried the case.

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