Man Charged in Correction Official's Death Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

The man accused in the death of a D.C. Corrections official has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. 

Dawit Seyoum was charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 death of Carolyn Cross.

Seyoum entered the not guilty plea Thursday, and the court accepted it. The plea follows two trials that ended with deadlocked juries. 

Prosecutors said Cross was in her apartment preparing to leave for an out of town Women's Leadership conference when Seyoum targeted her and killed her.

Cross was struck 15 times with a wrench before her head was covered with a plastic bag.

Seyoum allegedly decided to kill someone after he had an argument with his mother. He didn't know Cross, but killed her "because he didn't like the way she looked at him" when he encountered her at the apartment complex, prosecutors explained.

After the crime, Seyoum slashed his wrists and called 911. Police found Seyoum suffering from slashed wrists with the words "I was the dirty one" written in blood on his bathroom wall.


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During both trials, the jury struggled with whether Seyoum was criminally responsible for the murder or whether he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said it agreed to Thursday's plea in light of the two inconclusive jury trials. 

"Ms. Cross was senselessly attacked by a stranger with significant mental health issues," said Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter. "I regret that we were unable to secure a conviction in this matter."

Seyoum will be taken to a mental health facility for evaluation. A status hearing will be held on Feb. 11, 2016. 

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