Man charged in fatal July 4 Metro stabbing pleads guilty

WASHINGTON — The man accused of repeatedly and fatally stabbing a 24-year-old on a Metro train on July 4, 2015, pleaded guilty Thursday.

In D.C. Superior Court, Jasper Spires, 21, pleaded guilty to premeditated first-degree murder while armed in the stabbing death of Kevin Sutherland on a Metro train on July 4, 2015.

Prosecutors say Spires attempted to rob 24-year-old Sutherland on a Red Line train approaching the NoMa-Gallaudet University station and stabbed him as many as 20 times. In addition to stab wounds to his heart, lungs, back, sides and arms, Sutherland had other bruises and cuts on his body, including defensive wounds.

Officials say after the stabbing, Spires robbed two more people before fleeing.

As part of his plea deal, the six other serious counts against Spires are dropped and he could face 30-35 years in prison. Also, Spires waived his right to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which was the initial filing from the defense.

Spires could have gotten life without parole if found guilty in trial.

Sutherland’s parents, Douglas and Theresa Sutherland attended the hearing.

“Hearing that he actually admitted to murdering Kevin is something that you really cannot explain because you never expect to have to go through something like this. This has been a nightmare since July 4, [2015],” Theresa Sutherland said.

Douglas Sutherland said Spires destroyed many lives through his actions — including Spires’ own.

“He accepted responsibility for what he actually did do, and he’s going to have to pay the price,”  Douglas Sutherland said. “Hopefully he will have sufficient time to think about what he did – I hope he can turn his life around and make something out of it. But he still has a life … Kevin doesn’t.”

Spires will be sentenced in January.

Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up