“They entered the house, took a cell phone picture of the food they had stolen, and ate the stolen food.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user KJinDC

From MPD:

Melvin Woodard, 20, and Rojay Ball, 19, were sentenced today to prison terms of four or more years on charges stemming from an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver in Northeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced. Woodard and Ball pled guilty in May 2012, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of armed robbery and carrying a pistol without a license, both felonies. In addition, Ball pled guilty to a felony charge of threatening to injure a person. The two men were sentenced by the Honorable Heidi M. Pasichow. Woodard was sentenced to four years in prison and Ball was sentenced to a term of 4 ½ years. Upon completion of their prison terms, both defendants will be placed on five years of supervised release.

According to the government’s evidence, on Dec. 27, 2011, Woodard, Ball, and a third man called a Papa John’s restaurant. They ordered three pizzas, chicken wings, and cinnamon-bread dessert to be delivered to the area of Varnum and Sixth Place NE. About 10 p.m., a pizza-delivery driver arrived at the location. Woodard, Ball, and the third robber – all of whom were armed with loaded pistols and wearing black ski masks and gloves – ambushed the delivery driver, and demanded his money. While their guns were pointed at the driver, the robbers stole more than $200 in cash, the food they had ordered, and the driver’s cell phone. The three robbers fled approximately one block north and entered a house in the 4400 block of 6th Place NE. They entered the house, took a cell phone picture of the food they had stolen, and ate the stolen food.

On the morning of Dec. 29, 2011, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers executed a search warrant at the 6th Place location. Police recovered the guns that were used during the robbery, as well as ski masks and gloves worn during the crime. Police also recovered a cell phone that contained several photographs, including the picture of the stolen food.

While the investigation of the armed robbery was ongoing, Ball encountered a person who witnessed the armed robbery and threatened to hurt or kill that individual.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the excellent work of the MPD detectives, officers and crime scene technicians who handled the case. U.S. Attorney Machen also recognized the invaluable assistance of Durand Odom, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit, and thanked Paralegal Assistants Debra Smith and Wanda Trice. Finally, U.S. Attorney Machen expressed appreciation to Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Adam Meinero, of the Fourth District Prosecution Unit of the Felony Major Crimes Section, who prosecuted this case.

16 Comment

  • Threatening a witness and only got an additional half year? Seems a little weak IMO.

    • Exceptionally weak to me. What’s to stop the guy from killing the witness after getting out of jail?

    • Yeah, that jumped out at me too. One of the big problems police complain about is witnesses to crimes not coming forward. People in the community say the reason witnesses don’t come forward is they are afraid of retaliation. Not a big deterrent when threatening to hurt or kill a witness only gets you 6 more months in jail.

  • Both sentences (especially for the guy who threatened a witness) seem light to me, especially when, it’s fair to assume, they won’t serve nearly close to all that time. For armed robbery using guns (which no doubt were possessed illegally), closer to ten years seems more fair. But that’s D.C. for ya …

  • janie4

    And this is why I can’t bring myself to get a second job delivering pizzas. Sigh.

  • This isn’t the first time that this judge gave seemingly light sentences to violent criminals. Is she an especially light sentencer (which would surprise me since she is a former prosecutor), or are these just typical for D.C.? Scary if the latter …


  • I think the sentences are light as well but I also wonder how dumb are these criminals to rob on the same block they live on.

    • Added to that they took pictures and kept any and everything that could incriminate them right by their bedside. I don’t get how people can be so simple.

  • This is a weak sentence… Both should be going away for the next 10 years.

    Then he threatens a witness with death, and somehow that is only worth an extra half year. Send these clowns away for real time. Drug dealers get this much prison time…

  • I think the problem with DC is the judges hand down light sentences across the board, and especially to juvenile offenders. This has been discussed ad nauseum on this site. Nothing new.

  • On the bright side, we can rest assured that these fine young men will emerge from rehabilitation as upstanding, contributing members of our city. Really this will be a win-win.

  • What type of guns were recovered? How much ammo did they have? Where did they get their guns?

  • 4 1/2 years????!!!!!! They will be back on the street in 4 1/2 months…or less!

    • This really needs to stop. I have posted numerous times about how much of a sentence people actually serve. At the moment I don’t have the time to do it all over again with the citations. Go back to a couple of props to the cops and you’ll find it. Suffice it to say they will serve at least 85 percent. I think these discussions would be far more rational if people didn’t get their information from law and order.

  • Maybe the original poster mistook this case for one involving DYRS, in which case these guys would be back on the streets in a few months because that’s all it would take for them to bust out of, or simply walk away from, DYRS custody.

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