District Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Shooting His Father and Separate Robbery in 2017

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

            WASHINGTON – Bernard Coleman III, 29, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a 15-year prison term for killing his father in March 2017 and then, less than a week later, robbing a man on a street in Northeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Coleman also was sentenced today to an additional three years in prison for offenses committed while he was awaiting sentencing.

            Coleman pleaded guilty in December 2019, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to voluntary manslaughter while armed, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm. The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for an agreed-upon 15-year sentence. The Honorable Craig Iscoe accepted the plea and sentenced Coleman accordingly.

            According to the government’s evidence, in the early morning hours of March 17, 2017, Coleman entered the upstairs bedroom of his 43-year-old father, Bernard Coleman, Jr., in the 4000 block of Cole Boulevard SE, and shot him two times. Mr. Coleman’s body was found when window installers arrived at the home later that morning for an unrelated repair.

            Following the shooting, Bernard Coleman III fled the scene, taking his father’s car. He also took his father’s cell phone. Over the next half day, he used his deceased father’s cell phone to send text-responsive messages pretending to be his father. Less than a week later, at about 1 a.m. on March 22, 2017, he robbed a man at gunpoint in the 4100 block of Grant Street NE. Coleman took the man’s cell phone, wallet and umbrella and later used the stolen credit cards.

            Coleman was arrested on March 28, 2017, in Southeast Washington. While he was awaiting sentencing, he escaped from St. Elizabeths Hospital, where he was being housed, on Oct. 3, 2020. Coleman created a decoy out of towels and sheets and placed it in his bed to evade notice. According to the government’s evidence, he then participated in another assault and robbery, this time of a manager of a group home for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; Coleman later admitted to receiving stolen property.

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            Coleman was re-arrested on Oct. 7, 2020. He has remained in custody ever since.

            Coleman also had pleaded guilty to charges of escape and receiving stolen property for the offenses committed while he was awaiting sentencing. The Honorable Rainey R. Brandt sentenced him today to the three-year prison term on those charges.

            Following his prison terms, Coleman will be placed on a period of supervised release.

            These cases were investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department, with assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

            The 2017 murder and robbery cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Santiago and Lauren Galloway. Assistance was provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Giovannelli, Deputy Chief of the Homicide Section; Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Macey; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Fischer; Paralegal Specialists Stephanie Gilbert and LaShone Samuels; Victim/Witness Advocate Karina Hernandez, and former Victim/Witness Advocate Diana Lim.

            The 2020 escape and stolen property cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth C. Kelley and Felice Roggen. Assistance was provided by Sharon Marcus-Kurn, Chief of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Creighton, and Caroline Burrell; Lead Paralegal Specialist ReShawn Johnson, and Victim/Witness Advocate Tracey Hawkins.