12-year prison sentence for home invasion attacker ID’d by sneaker print

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The perpetrator of a brutal home invasion and armed robbery — who was identified by a Facebook search and distinctive sneaker footprint — was sentenced Monday to a 12-year prison sentence.

In June, a jury convicted Devonte Dixon, 24, of Germantown, for his role in the Nov. 4 attack, in which he kicked open the apartment door of a young Germantown mother, demanded money and beat the woman with his fists as another man, armed with a gun, stood watch at her door.

The woman was holding her young daughter during the attack.

Police credit the woman’s memory and a distinctive sneaker print for helping nab Dixon.

During the beating, the victim realized her attacker looked familiar and screamed “I know you, why are you doing this to me,” according to court testimony.

After Dixon and the other man fled, the victim and a family member used Facebook to identify Dixon — a middle-school classmate — as her attacker. Dixon used another name, Jhonny Blaze, on the social-networking site. The other man has not been apprehended.

In addition, Montgomery County police matched the sneaker print from the woman’s door to a pair of Dixon’s Air Jordan sneakers.

Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year sentence.

Dixon’s attorney said his client “has got a lot of anger,” but said “I don’t think a trip to the Department of Corrections will make him any smarter or less angry.”

During sentencing, Dixon maintained his innocence, saying he was not involved in the home invasion or armed robbery.

“I’m not going to stand here and say I’m remorseful for something I didn’t do,” Dixon told Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg.

Dixon said he has been diagnosed with mental illness — attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder — and said prison time would “leave me sitting there, stagnated.”

Dixon said he is devoted to raising his young child, and said several previous arrests did not make him a violent person.

“How am I a threat?” he asked Greenberg.

In announcing his sentence, Greenberg said he was comfortable with the jury’s conviction.

“Jail is an empty experience,” Greenberg acknowledged. “While I don’t envy anyone who has to do dead time, the county had to be protected.”

Prosecutors asked Greenberg to sentence Dixon to 12 years for each crime, but Greenberg ruled they would be served concurrently.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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