Man sentenced for murder of woman on DC 295 and 2020 assault

A District man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of a woman along DC 295 in February and a previous assault against his child’s mother in 2020.

Gregory Johnson, 31, was sentenced Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in June in D.C. Superior Court to charges of second-degree murder, carrying a pistol without a license and assault with a dangerous weapon, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves.

According to government’s evidence, on the morning of Feb. 5, 2022, Johnson picked up 32-year-old Passion Pleasant, a mother of 6, and drove with her down DC 295. During the drive, Johnson produced a firearm and fatally shot Pleasant five times in the chest.



Pleasant left the vehicle and collapsed on the side of the highway, where she died shortly after.

Four witnesses told police at the time that after they pulled off DC 295 near the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast exit, to help with what they thought was an accident or medical emergency, that they saw Johnson laying on top of Passion Pleasant, pleading with her not to leave him, according to original charging documents.

Johnson was arrested on the scene.

Passion Pleasant, 32, from Northeast, D.C., died in February as a result of multiple stab and gunshot wounds. (Courtesy Portia Pleasant)

The victim’s sister, Portia Pleasant, said that Passion had been in a relationship with Johnson for more than two years and that it was a relationship she tried to escape.

At the time of the murder, Johnson was wearing a GPS ankle monitor as he awaited a grand jury’s decision in an unrelated domestic violence case from 2020, for which he was also convicted on Wednesday.

It was that monitoring anklet that showed investigators he was in the vicinity of Pleasant’s home in Northeast D.C., before getting onto the highway, where they eventually stopped.

The second case included in Johnson’s conviction was the Aug. 31, 2020, assault against the mother of his then infant child.

In that case, Johnson had messaged the victim, stating that he wanted to see her. When the victim drove toward her own house with their daughter in the back seat, Johnson followed in his own vehicle. When they reached a residential street in Northeast D.C., Johnson swerved in front her vehicle, blocking her in.

Johnson then exited his vehicle with a loaded handgun and pointed it at the victim, demanding that she give him their daughter. The victim quickly maneuvered her car away and was able to flee with her child to safety.

Following his prison term, Johnson will be placed on five years of supervised release.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and Megan Cloherty contributed to this story.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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