ATTORNEY

Suspect in Fatal Stabbing of DC Jogger Pleads Guilty

Wendy Martinez, 35, was jogging when she was fatally stabbed just before 8 p.m., police have said

The man accused of fatally stabbing an avid runner in Washington, D.C. in September, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia announced Friday.

Anthony Crawford, 23, accepted a plea deal agreement to spend 30 years in prison and five years of supervised released thereafter.

He was earlier ruled to be be competent to stand trial in the fatal stabbing of 35-year-old Wendy Martinez after the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health initially found him not competent to stand trial in February.

Martinez was jogging in the 1400 block of 11th Street NW in the Logan Circle neighborhood when she was fatally stabbed just before 8 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2018.

Crawford was arrested the following night and charged with first-degree murder while armed, police said.

A psychologist who analyzed Crawford, found that he was competent to stand trial in March. 

Under the plea reached, Crawford faces 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, while also contributing between $100 and $5,000 to the Victims of Violent Crime Compensation fund.

The September stabbing sent shockwaves through the District, as the seemingly random attack happened on a popular intersection.

According to U.S. Attorney's office, Crawford stole a kitchen knife from a local grocery store on the evening on Sept. 18 and encountered Martinez about 20 minutes later. He allegedly attacked the victim at the intersection of 11th and P streets, stabbing her seven times: twice in the head, once in the the face, three times in the neck and once in the back.

Police said surveillance video captured Crawford inside a nearby Giant Food store in the same aisle where the kind of knife used in the attack was sold.

More video from the street outside a nearby Chinese restaurant also showed Crawford stabbing Martinez as she tried to run away, police said. 

The U.S. Attorney's office also said that Martinez managed to get away and stagger into the Chinese restaurant, where she collapsed as strangers in the shop tried to save her and called 911.

Martinez was an avid runner and a graduate of Georgetown University. She lived in an upscale apartment just three blocks from where she was killed. She had gotten engaged just a week before her death and had just purchased a wedding dress with her mother.

The family has said they want to focus on keeping Martinez's spirit alive and plan on holding an anniversary event after Crawford's sentencing on Sept. 13, 2019.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for updates on this developing story.

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