By Matt Zapotosky
A man accused of attacking and killing a D.C. corrections official at her Alexandria apartment was found not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday as part of a deal with prosecutors, authorities said.
Dawit Seyoum, 30, was charged with first-degree murder in the September 2014 slaying of Carolyn Cross, a deputy corrections director in the District. He had pursued an insanity defense at two trials, and each time, jurors in the case deadlocked.
There was no dispute that Seyoum killed Cross by hitting her 15 times with a wrench and taping a plastic bag over her head after he followed her into her apartment, though prosecutors and defense attorneys disagreed about whether he could be found culpable because of his mental health problems. Defense attorneys said Seyoum was driven by his psychosis and did not know right from wrong when he launched the attack
In a news release announcing that prosecutors had agreed to let Seyoum plead not guilty by reason of insanity, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said, “The fact that both juries were unable to reach a unanimous verdict shows the complex nature of the evidence.” He said he was “confident that this outcome will serve the community by providing Mr. Seyoum the intensive mental health treatment he needs.”
My thoughts are with the victim and the victim’s family as this case is brought to a conclusion,” Porter added in the release. “Ms. Cross was senselessly attacked by a stranger with significant mental health issues. She is sorely missed by those that loved her, and I regret that we were unable to secure a conviction in this matter.”
Seyoum will be turned over to the Virginia Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services for evaluation, authorities said.
Source: Washington Post
By Matt Zapotosky