A man has been found guilty of raping and killing a North Carolina artist who was found bound and stabbed to death inside a row house in Northeast Washington in 2017.
A jury found El Hadji Toure guilty of all 13 charges against him in the death of Corrina Mehiel, including first-degree murder while armed and first-degree sexual abuse while armed.
“It feels like justice,” said her father, Ron Mehiel. “I only hope that he dies in prison. So I guess that’s the rest of his life, and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”
Prosecutors said Toure broke into Mehiel's basement apartment on March 20, 2017, bound her and sexually assaulted her. He then stabbed her and took her car and debit card, according to prosecutors.
Mehiel, 34, was found unconscious inside her apartment the next day. She was pronounced dead after midnight March 22, 2017, one day before her birthday.
Prosecutors presented evidence of Toure’s DNA on Mehiel’s body.
Surveillance video showed Toure using Mehiel’s ATM card at several locations around the area, prosecutors said, withdrawing more than $2,000 in the days before and after her death.
Surveillance video also showed Toure walking in Mehiel’s block the morning of her murder and driving away in her 2004 Toyota Prius, prosecutors said.
He was arrested March 27, 2017, after someone reported seeing him sitting in a Ford Taurus on the 1700 block of Hamlin Street NE.
The defense argued police failed to thoroughly investigate and follow up on other leads.
They told jurors two weeks before Mehiel's death, another victim survived a similar crime, and police said Toure did not commit that crime. No arrest was made.
The jury deliberated for two days before returning with the verdict.
“If we were on the jury we would have taken about five minutes to convict, but obviously, the jurors were more methodical than we perhaps were, so it was tough," Ron Mehiel said. "It was tough sitting around waiting for the verdict, not knowing how it was going to turn out.”
“We feel very grateful to all of the people who have worked so hard on this case, and we honor them for their dedication to their job, and we understand that the job is brutal, and we can’t thank them enough,” said Mehiel’s stepmother, Lari Mehiel. “The prosecution did a great job, the police of D.C. were fantastic, the jurors took their time and made their decision, and Mr. Toure cannot hurt anyone else again. He’ll be in prison.”
Mehiel was an artist and art teacher who was working at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design.
Mehiel, who originally was from Burnsville, North Carolina, was living in D.C. temporarily. She specialized in art that engaged communities and was working with the artist Mel Chin.
“Corrina was the daughter of my heart, and she was an impassioned and fabulous, smart, dedicated woman,” her stepmother said. “She was dedicated to making the world a better place for everyone, so we will miss her forever.”