WASHINGTON – Four area men were found guilty by a federal jury today of murder and other charges in the kidnapping of a Maryland man whose body was found in June 2018 in an alley in Southeast Washington. The victim had been shot numerous times and his hands were still bound with zip-ties.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Darin Moore, Jr. 29, of Bowie, Md., Gabriel Brown, 33, and John Sweeney, 29, who are all from Washington, D.C., were found guilty following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, first-degree murder while armed, and felony murder. James Thomas Taylor, 33, also of Washington, D.C.., was found guilty of kidnapping resulting in death and felony murder. A mistrial was declared on the remaining two counts in the indictment against Taylor. All four defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2023.
According to the government’s evidence, on June 19, 2018, the victim, Andre Simmons, Jr., 28, from Bowie, Maryland, was abducted at gunpoint in Maryland, bound with zip ties, and forced into a vehicle by Moore and Sweeney. During the following few hours, several ransom calls were made from Taylor’s phone to Mr. Simmons’ family, who delivered $7,000 in cash to a drop location as instructed by the kidnappers. The money was subsequently picked up by Brown.
Just over an hour after the ransom payment, at about 6:25 a.m. on June 20, 2018, the defendants shot Mr. Simmons 19 times and left his zip-tied body in an alley off the 600 block of Atlantic Street SE. The four men then met up in Capitol Heights, Maryland, to divide up the proceeds of the ransom demand.
Moore was arrested on June 20, 2018. Brown was arrested on June 27, 2018, Taylor was arrested on Aug. 17, 2018, and Sweeney was arrested on Jan. 14, 2019. All have been in custody since their arrests.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD’s Homicide Division. Valuable assistance was provided by Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department, and the U.S. Marshal Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Wasserman, Laura Crane, and Will Hart, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Paralegal Specialist Genevieve De Guzman also assisted in the prosecution.