Defendants Allegedly Abducted Maryland Man and Held Him for Ransom
WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury today returned a superseding indictment charging four men with murder and other charges in the kidnapping of a Maryland man whose body was found in an alley in Southeast Washington last June. The victim had been shot numerous times and his hands were still bound with zip-ties.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Darin Moore, Jr. 25, of Bowie, Md., and Gabriel Brown, 30, James Thomas Taylor, 30, and John Sweeney, 25, who are all from Washington, D.C., were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one count of first-degree murder (premeditated), and one count of first-degree murder (felony murder). Moore, Taylor, and Sweeney were also charged with one count of using, carrying, possessing, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds of the alleged crimes.
All four men are to be arraigned on the charges by the Honorable Judge James E. Boasberg on March 11, 2019. The defendants previously were indicted on kidnapping and related charges and pled not guilty. Today’s superseding indictment added the murder offenses.
According to the indictment and related court documents, on June 19, 2018, Moore and Sweeney abducted the victim, Andre Simmons, Jr., from Bowie, Md., and transported him to the District of Columbia. Together, the defendants then allegedly used cellphones to communicate with family and associates of the victim, making ransom demands and threatening the victim’s life. During these calls, arrangements were made with family members and associates to pick up the ransom money. As alleged in the indictment, Brown collected U.S. currency on June 20, 2018. Mr. Simmons, 28, was taken to the rear of the 600 block of Atlantic Street SE, where he was shot multiple times with a firearm. The four men then met up in Capitol Heights, Maryland, to divide up the proceeds of the ransom demand, the indictment alleges.
Moore was arrested on June 20, 2018. Brown was arrested on June 27, 2018, Taylor was arrested on Aug. 17, 2018, and Sweeney was arrested on Jan. 14, 2019. All have been in custody since their arrests.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD’s Homicide Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Wasserman and Laura Crane, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.