David Hall Dixon, 42, of Takoma Park, a former Pentagon police officer, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday for the murders of James Johnson, 38, and Dominique Williams, 32, in Takoma Park in 2021.
Dixon had fatally shot the two as they were driving away from a Takoma Park apartment complex.
“Do I think it’s fair? No,” said Joseph Johnson, James Johnson’s cousin at a press conference Thursday. “[Dixon] can wake up every day, call his mom, his dad or his family members, write letters and respond back to them. He can get up and breathe air. Can my cousin [James] do that? Can Dominique do that? No, they can’t because they’re in caskets six feet deep.”
Dixon was convicted Sept. 15 on two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Johnson and Williams, and one count of first-degree assault for shooting at a third victim, Michael Thomas, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said.
The State of Maryland and Dixon agreed to a plea deal of 30 years, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.
Before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Mason decided on the sentence, family members of the victims spoke about the trauma they have endured after their loved ones died. Both men had multiple children.
“These kids will grow up without their parents,” Joseph Johnson said.
He said that it’s devastating that his cousin cannot walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding or play football with his sons ever again.
Right before the judge made his sentencing decision, Dixon addressed the court in an emotional speech.
“I am remorseful and heartbroken,” Dixon said. “I will live with this nightmare for the rest of my life.”
Dixon’s attorney, William Brennan, commended his client’s character during the sentencing hearing, explaining that he served in the military, in Afghanistan and Egypt, and then spent many years in law enforcement. He said that the judge should consider his “life of service.”
One of the key points prosecutors emphasized that harmed Dixon’s character: When Dixon was asked about his actions on April 7, 2021, behind the Takoma Overlook Apartment Complex at 7333 New Hampshire Ave., Dixon lied to police, according to charging documents.
He said he was leaving for work that morning and saw a Lexus with headlights missing driving through the parking lot with three occupants in the car, the charging documents said.
According to the charging documents, Dixon said he observed one of the people who was in the car attempting to break into another vehicle in the parking lot by breaking the window.
Dixon said when he confronted the people in the Lexus, they “gassed it” and tried to run him over, so he fired multiple shots at them, according to charging documents.
But according to video surveillance footage of the parking lot, Dixon fired at the Lexus from behind, while it was leaving the parking lot.
All three people in the car were unarmed, McCarthy said during a press conference after the conviction.
The driver, Thomas, then drove himself and the passengers to Prince George’s Hospital immediately, according to charging documents.
“I had nightmares at night where [I was] still in the car, and I was lost. I didn’t really know what to do,” Thomas said at the news conference Thursday. “I’m on my last leg at my job, I can’t sleep and…it’s stressful.”
Johnson, who sat in the front seat, and Williams, who sat in the rear seat, were pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, McCarthy said.
The charging documents said that Dixon fired his gun several times after the car passed him and “no longer presented an immediate threat that would have justified the use of deadly force.”
The Lexus had multiple bullet holes in the rear of the vehicle, and the autopsies of Johnson and Williams revealed they had both been shot in the back, the charging documents said.
McCarthy said that even though Dixon was a police officer for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, he had no law enforcement authority during this incident.
“He had no legal authority and no police powers in the State of Maryland,” McCarthy said after the conviction. “And he was not supposed to use his Pentagon-issued service revolver for personal reasons.”
McCarthy also said during the sentencing that this was not the first time that Dixon wielded his automatic weapon off-duty and assaulted someone.
“Inside of the building at 7333 [New Hampshire Ave.], he had assaulted a homeless woman…on May 6th of 2020,” McCarthy said at the press conference Thursday.
McCarthy said that Dixon pointed an automatic weapon at her and sprayed mace at her to get her to leave the lobby of the apartment building.
Also, during the sentencing, McCarthy brought up a road rage incident on July 29, 2020. In that incident, Dixon escalated to threats of violence by pulling out a weapon, according to McCarthy.
“He produced a service revolver, got out [and] threatened that individual,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said during the press conference that the journey to this sentencing has been a long road because of a mistrial. Dixon had a trial from Feb. 13-17 that was declared a mistrial because the jury deadlocked on the verdict, according to previous MoCo360 reporting.
It was rescheduled for October but was ultimately canceled, since the two parties had a hearing with the judge to discuss a plea deal in September, which resulted in Dixon pleading guilty, according to digital court records.
He has been in jail since April 2021; his sentence will start from the date he was first incarcerated.