Canada Free Press: Voters in the nation’s capital made history by electing a convicted murderer who is still behind bars for his crime to an Advisory Neighborhood Commission, or ANC, which counsels the local government on neighborhood issues such as garbage collection, police patrols, liquor licenses, zoning, and parking.
Joel Caston, 44, has been imprisoned for 26 years following a first-degree murder conviction in the August 14, 1994 killing of 18-year-old Rafiq Washington. Victim and shooter knew each other and there was some unspecified animus between them that cannot easily be divined from online court records. Caston, who was elected June 15, will reportedly be liberated from the D.C. Central Detention Facility this year or next.
Evidence at his 1996 trial demonstrated Washington “was shot and killed in front of the New China Carry Out … at the corner of 16th Street and Good Hope Road, S.E.” A witness saw Caston “run toward Washington, place a revolver inches from Washington’s body, almost touching Washington’s head, and fire ‘about five’ additional shots.’”
Despite his dark past, Caston was elected to the ANC for Ward 7, becoming the first incarcerated person to be elected to public office in the District of Columbia.
Caston has taken for-credit courses through Georgetown University, mentored young prisoners, practiced yoga, and edited a prisoner newspaper. On its website, the university slobbers all over Caston, calling him a “Prison Scholar” even though he’s not a penologist or a criminologist.
“I’m incredibly proud of Joel for his election,” said Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative Director Marc M. Howard, who has taught Caston. “Joel is brilliant, dedicated, compassionate and full of integrity.”
“He’s an inspiration to everyone who is lucky enough to know him,” Howard added. “And I’m counting down the days until he comes home, a free man, to share his talent and positivity with the world.” more