MARYLAND (DC News Now) — A former Pentagon officer who shot and killed two people in Takoma Park in 2021 was sentenced to 25 years total in prison on Thursday.
David Dixon, a former Pentagon police officer, was in Takoma Park on April 7, 2021, when he saw people breaking into a car. Police said that Dixon, who was off duty, confronted them and fired shots into the car as they drove off.
Two of the people in the car. Dominique Williams and James Lionel Johnson. died as a result of the shooting. Michael Thomas, who was driving the car, survived.
“What he was doing was not protecting the community. What he was doing was undermining the confidence and faith that police do things right, and he should be held accountable for that,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy.
McCarthy argued for the maximum sentence of 30 years.
“We’ve lost two lives, countless other lives have been impacted,” McCarthy said.
Dixon, who pleaded guilty in September, stated, tearfully, “I stand here before you to be sentenced. I am remorseful and heartbroken about the events of that morning. I’ll live with this heartbreak for the rest of my life.”
In making its case for sentencing, the prosecution mentioned two incidents that took place before the fatal shooting to illustrate a pattern from Dixon: an assault in May of 2020 and a road rage incident in July of 2020.
McCarthy said that on May 6, 2020, a homeless woman was assaulted with a gun in an apartment lobby around 3 a.m. He said that the woman, whom police knew, was in the building’s lobby when Dixon was walking his dogs. Dixon motioned to her before getting into the elevator and came back out of the elevator with a gun and mace.
McCarthy said that Dixon then directed the woman out of the building at gunpoint.
Dixon’s lawyer, Bill Brennan, said that the prosecution did not accurately portray the incident and that police knew about video of it initially and chose not to do anything with the information.
As part of his plea deal, Dixon was not charged for the assault.
McCarthy said that on July 29, 2020, Dixon pulled a gun on a man on New Hampshire Avenue NE in D.C. during a road rage incident. Dixon and the other man made 911 calls about the incident.
Dixon’s lawyer said that the other man was the aggressor.
Brennan argued that Dixon had a life of service, joining the U.S. Air Force when he was 18 and serving in Afghanistan before he was honorably discharged. Dixon worked as a federal law enforcement officer in the Department of Commerce, Department of the Navy and the Pentagon.
“20 years of a life of service came down to a 12-second error, a 12-second mistake, and two men died, and one traumatized forever,” Brennan said.
McCarthy responded, saying, “This is not about 12 seconds. It’s a course of reckless conduct and you’ve got to put the pieces together.”
Six victims’ families gave impact statements on Thursday.
Four people spoke on behalf of Dixon, including a woman who met him nine months ago because her troubled son was his cellmate. She said Dixon helped and protected her son while they were in prison, calling him “patient” and “good.”
Dixon’s youth pastor also spoke at the trial, asking for mercy. His parents wrote a letter as well.
A judge previously declared a mistrial in February after jurors said they were deadlocked.
“I’ve been doing this now for 30 years, and it’s the most difficult task a judge has to perform. Particularly in cases like this where the impact of those crimes is so enormous. It’s clearly evident from the statements we’ve heard, it’s enormously apparent the impact this has had,” Judge Mike Mason said during Thursday’s sentencing.
Dixon was sentenced to 25 years for each murder charge he faced and 10 years for assault. All terms will be served concurrently. He is not eligible for parole for the first half of his sentence.
Dixon gets credit for the time he already served which was 952 days, starting on April 9, 2021.