Year in Review 2012

Every day Homicide Watch brings you the most up-to-date news available on DC homicides: reporting on new crimes, arrests, court proceedings and more. Now, as 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to look back on what we’ve learned.

This special 2012 Year in Review package features interviews, investigative reports, charts, roundups and more, all exploring this year in D.C. homicides. We also look ahead to what’s in store next year, particularly at DC Superior Court where several high profile murder cases are scheduled for trial in the first weeks of the year.

To Our Readers and Supporters: Thank You

We are about to publish our annual Year in Review package, a collection of investigations, feature stories, data visualizations and guest columns looking back on homicide in D.C. in 2012. It is not an exaggeration to say that we wouldn’t be publishing today without you, our readers and supporters. Over the summer, this site almost … Read more →

2012 in Review

As 2012 drew to a close, the nation was shocked and saddened by the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. Second only to Virginia Tech in lives lost in a moment of school violence, the losses of Sandy Hook Elementary seemed, for many of us, too much to bear. In … Read more →

2012 By the Numbers

As part of our special Year in Review series, we parse out data related to this year’s homicides. The numbers in this story are pulled from Homicide Watch D.C.’s database, unless otherwise noted. For more detailed information, use the sorting features on our victims and suspects databases or explore our map. There were 92 homicides … Read more →

The Year in Charts

From Homicide Watch D.C.’s database, the year in homicide, visualized: Read more Read more →

The Ten Cases That Captured Our Attention This Year

Many cases captured our hearts and minds this year. For many, the stories were personal. Others we cared about because they affected our neighbors, our friends. Still others we paid attention to simply because this is our community. These are our streets. Our buses. Our shops. This year’s list of ten cases captures that. It … Read more →

The Year in Comments

Family, friends and neighborhoods of homicide victims and suspects opened up their hearts and minds on Homicide Watch throughout the year. In their comments were words of grief, wisdom, loss and comfort. They helped all of us better understand the true human impact of violent crime and the humanity present in the most tragic of … Read more →

Lanier: “It’s not victory. But it feels like a good milestone for us.”

The District of Columbia will see less than 100 murders this year, something that hasn’t happened in a half-century. On Dec. 17, police chief Cathy Lanier sat down with Homicide Watch D.C. reporters Penny Ray and Sam Pearson. Looking at the numbers, she said: When I think about the number from where I started from … Read more →

Love, Healing, Memory: Photographs of DC’s Street Shrines

2012 marked the ninth full year I have been documenting the building of street memorials for victims of violence in the DC area. It was a year of sadness, and some hope. As of this writing, an additional eighty citizens of our community lost their lives due to murder this year. This number is not … Read more →

Six Homicides This Year Closed as Self-Defense

In September, police say, 21-year-old Joel Johnson went into an apartment in the 200 block of First Street Southeast intending to rob the person who lived there. It was an attempted crime that ultimatly cost Johnson his life. MPD says that a man inside the apartment struggled with either Johnson or his alleged accomplice, Jaren … Read more →

The South Capitol Street Massacre: A Look Back on the Road to Conviction

Over eight days in spring 2010, five people under the age of 20 were shot and killed. This spring, the five men accused in those shootings were found guilty, four of them of first-degree murder and one of second-degree murder. A sixth pleaded guilty to five counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy, becoming … Read more →

D.C. Sees Decline in Domestic Violence Homicides

DC saw six confirmed domestic violence homicides this year, victim advocates say. That’s down from 13 in 2011 and 12 in 2010. But the end of the year left some aid workers concerned. Amy Loudermilk, who was a senior policy specialist at the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence before taking a position as deputy director … Read more →

In Southeast D.C., A Teen Rapper is Remembered for His Last Lyrics

What you know about this … what you know about that? You ain’t never seen a nigger get whacked.” The words were assumed to be style, the rap of an 18-year-old from Southeast D.C. Talent and posture. But hours after performing the song, the writer, Navarro Anthony Brown, was dead. Known by friends as “Moochie,” … Read more →

Year Ahead: 2013 Trials

More than three dozen trials for murder cases have already been penciled into the 2013 judicial calendar. Of murders that have occurred since August 2010, 39 cases are scheduled for 2013 trials. Of course, not all will ultimately be tried. Some defendants will plead guilty. Others may have the charges against them dropped. In other … Read more →

Year Ahead: 2013 Judges

A yearly review of the Felony 1 calendar has reassigned murder cases in some of DC Superior Court’s busiest courtrooms. Among the changes, cases assigned to Judge William Jackson will move to Judge John Ramsey Johnson’s calendar and casses assigned to Judge Thomas Motley will move to Judge Herbert Dixon Jr’s calendar. Read more Read more →

After a Year of Mental Health Investigation, Albrecht Muth Found Competent to Proceed to March Trial

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, psychologist Michele Godwin walked into Albrecht Muth’s room in Ward 9 of Saint Elizabeths Hospital, the District’s public psychiatric unit. Over the previous two days, both of them had sat through roughly 12 hours of testimony in D.C. Superior Court about whether or not Muth is competent to stand trial for … Read more →

An Interview with MPD Chief Cathy Lanier: Fighting Homicides in the District

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier says things are turning around in the District. Homicides, which numbered 479 when she joined the department in 1990, are on track for the lowest total since 1963. Lanier credits the department’s strict enforcement of the city’s gun regulations and greater cooperation with communities affected by violence. She said … Read more →


Today we mark what appears to be a milestone for D.C.: 2012 saw fewer than 100 homicides. As of Monday morning the homicide count was 92, the lowest annual tally since 1963. It’s worth noting that MPD’s official tally is 88 homicides. That number does not include four deaths that were ruled self-defense. Homicide Watch … Read more →

District Moves Away from Police Control of Forensic Functions

In the future, homicides in the District of Columbia will still be investigated by police officers. But when those officers need key tests of evidence like ballistics analysis or DNA samples, they’ll turn to civilians in white lab coats, not their fellow cops. And all of the city’s testing will take place under a single … Read more →

“I don’t think it has anything to do with neighborhoods; it’s people,” Lanier says of D.C. Homicides

Mayor Vincent Gray and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced Thursday that the official number of homicides for 2012 is the lowest number since 1961. MPD’s official total is 88 homicides. That number does not include the four deaths that were ruled self-defense. Homicide Watch D.C. has counted the self-defense cases, bringing the total homicide … Read more →

After Fatal Robbery, a Family Waits for Answers and Peace

For Abigail Dennis, 2012 has left her with a lot of unanswered questions, a sadness she is reminded of every time her 4-year-old son asks for his father. In June her 60-year-old husband, Hayes Osei Dennis, was stabbed to death on Q Street SW near Nationals Park. Lt. Robert Alder, of the MPD’s Homicide Unit, … Read more →

Links Roundup: Year in Review

For two weeks, Homicide Watch has brought you a series of special in-depth and investigative features as part of our annual Year in Review. You can find those reports, including video of our interview with MPD Chief Cathy Lanier, an analysis of our database, a gallery of street shrine photos, comments of the year, and … Read more →