Metro Weekly

Conviction for Bias

Superior Court jury finds two men guilty of 2009 robbery and attack, with bias enhancement

The Metropolitan Police Department announced on Wednesday, June 16, that a D.C. Superior Court jury has found two men guilty for their involvement in a 2009 robbery and assault against two men perceived to be gay.

According to an announcement issued by MPD’s Special Liaison Unit, Michael Cowan, 23, and Vernon Long, 25, of Southeast D.C., will face sentencing before Judge Ronna Beck on July 26.

A jury found them guilty of the following charges: two counts of robbery, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon/bias-related crime, and one count of assault with significant injury/bias-related crime.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 p.m., on Nov. 25, 2009. Cowan and Long and a group of other men robbed and attacked two male victims, ages 17 and 19. The victims were leaving a convenience store in the 2400 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. Cowan and Long stole the victims’ jackets and beat them. Police apprehended Cowan and Long shortly after the attack. Cowan admitted to police that he used the word ”faggot” while striking the victims.

Based on that evidence, Cowan was additionally found guilty of ”having persisted in the attack upon one of the victims based upon Cowan’s perception of the victim’s sexual orientation.”