Man Pleads Guilty in Murder of Hae Soon Lim, Ower of Grace’s Deli on H Street, NE

Hae-Soon-Lim-shrine
Remembering Hae Soon Lim

From a press release:

Steven Williams, 46, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to a charge of second-degree murder while armed in the June 2012 slaying of the owner of a Northeast Washington delicatessen, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Williams pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Robert E. Morin scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2013. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison. Under the plea agreement, the government will ask for no more than 28 years of incarceration, and the defendant will seek no less than 20 years in prison.

According to the government’s evidence, the victim, Hae Soon Lim, 64, was found by police on June 14, 2012, at about 6:15 a.m., on the floor of her delicatessen, Grace’s Deli, in the 700 block of H Street NE. Her vehicle was found parked directly outside. An autopsy determined that Ms. Lim died from a single gunshot wound that entered through the back of her neck.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has a crime surveillance camera located a block away from the delicatessen at 8th and H Streets NE. A review of the video from the camera showed that a vehicle consistent with the appearance of the vehicle belonging to Ms. Lim pulled up and parked in front of the deli at about 5:25 a.m. on June 14, 2012. The video also shows a single person, believed to be the victim, leaving the vehicle and walking toward the restaurant.

The video then shows, moments later, a single person crossing H Street rapidly on foot, moving toward the front entrance of the restaurant, where that person then proceeds to interact in close proximity with the person believed to be Ms. Lim.

An empty, brown handgun holster was found on the floor directly next to Ms. Lim’s body. DNA from that holster revealed a match to the defendant. Williams’s DNA was also recovered from an empty cash register located inside the restaurant, behind the counter and out of reach from the customer area.

Williams was charged with the murder in November 2012 and remains in custody.

In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier praised the work of those who investigated the case for the MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the work performed by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences. Finally, they commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. Liebman and Justin Dillon, who investigated and prosecuted the matter.

11 Comment

  • i would love to know why. WHY? why did she have to be murdered? what was steven’s motivation in this?

    • “Williams’s DNA was also recovered from an empty cash register located inside the restaurant” His motivation was money, probably a few hundred dollars. It is sickening to see a person hold another’s life so cheaply.

  • msmaryedith

    Grace’s Deli is just around the corner from me, and it makes my heart sink every time I pass it. Hae Soon Lim sounded like such a kind, wonderful person. I wish this could somehow lessen the grief of her family, but I know it’s unlikely. I’ve read her family lost their home because of the collapse of the business after her death.

    It disgusts me to think that Williams will serve no more than 28 years for this–that’s nuts. So senseless and awful.

  • Why is DC not asking for the full 40 years in prison???? Only 28? What could possibly be the logic behind this?

    • Plea bargain with less years=definitely jailed.

      But if that took the case to trial and went for the full sentence then they ran the risk of loosing – particularly if the case wasn’t a “slam dunk” (and don’t believe anyone who says something was a slam dunk) and double jeopardy meant the guy who killed here would have gotten no time and gets a pass.

      • Well, the cynic in me has to believe that even if it were a “slam dunk”, they would take a plea deal just to avoid the expense of a trial. That, to me, is a travesty. Sounds like the guy’s DNA was all over the crime scene, so to this potential juror it seems like just about as close as you can get to a slam dunk.

      • Thank You ET. So many complain but few know how the system works.

  • Why exactly would this perp NOT be put in prison for the rest of his life?? Seriously, DC will NEVER get a handle on ITS totally out of control violent citizenry UNTIL IT finally takes steps to change ITS SENTENCING GUIDELINES! Travesty. Embarrasment. Totally insulting to the victim’s family that this guy and guy’s like him will ever see the light of day as a man free to walk the streets amongst US.

    • Superior Court of DC is not in the revenge business. 20-28 years is no joke– it really depends on if, and how early, he will be eligible for parole.

      The sentence could have been longer but a plea is a sure thing.

  • Anybody remember Marion Barry’s recent spate of anti-Asian slurs?

    “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now.”

    I’m not saying he’s responsible, but…

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