Man Who Confessed to Killing DC Official Faces New Charges in Escape

Dawit Seyoum had been charged in the 2014 death of a D.C. Corrections official but was found not guilty by reason of insanity

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A man who confessed to the brutal slaying of a D.C. Corrections official in 2014 faces new charges for his escape from custody Tuesday.

Dawit Seyoum, 36, walked away from Gateway Homes, a mental health facility in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Police believe he hid in nearby woods for more than a day before returning to the facility Wednesday afternoon.

Seyoum had been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of Carolyn Cross in her apartment in Alexandria’s Seminary Towers in September 2014. He did not know her but lived nearby.

Prosecutors have said Cross was in her apartment preparing to leave for an out-of-town conference when Seyoum targeted her and killed her.

Following two trials that ended with deadlocked juries, Seyoum entered a not guilty plea, which the court accepted.

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

In an email, Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter confirmed Seyoum faces additional penalties.

“Mr. Seyoum was arrested on a warrant alleging he is in contempt of a court order,” Porter wrote. “My office cannot make expansive comments about this matter because there will be a contempt hearing in the future at which my office will be representing the commonwealth.”

Cross’ daughter Clarissa Davis said no officials informed her of Seyoum’s escape. She said she has never been OK with the circumstances of his confinement.

“I really want him to go where he should have gone in the first place, which is the penitentiary,” she said.

Several of Cross’ friends and family said they plan to attend the contempt hearing.

News4 reached out to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health Services, which oversees Seyoum’s confinement, and is awaiting a response. 

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