Submitted March 24, 2016
Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Criminal Division (CF3-16472-13)(Hon. Patricia A. Broderick,
Matthew J. Peed was on the brief for appellant.
Channing D. Phillips, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth
Trosman, John P. Mannarino, John P. Marston, and Danny Lam
Nguyen, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief
BEFORE: Glickman and Fisher, Associate Judges; and Steadman,
case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record
and the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral
argument. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set
forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the judgment on appeal is affirmed.
STEADMAN SENIOR JUDGE.
Cousart appeals his convictions by a jury of aggravated
assault while armed (AAWA) and assault with a dangerous weapon
(ADW). He argues that the trial court committed
plain error in its instructions on both counts. We find no
plain error. However, we publish this opinion because in
instructing on the AAWA count, the trial court closely
followed the model instructions in Criminal Jury Instructions
for the District of Columbia (5th ed. rev. 2015),
yet, in doing so, left open the possibility of argument for
reversal that appellant makes here and others may make in
September 13, 2013, when he went into an alley to urinate,
Darfus Barrett was stabbed in the neck, shoulder, and back,
inflicting serious injury. Mr. Barrett testified at trial
that it was appellant who followed him into the alley and
stabbed him with a knife. Mr. Barrett and appellant were
acquaintances but not friends and did not "get
along"; they had had a verbal set-to the previous day.
There was no other witness to this stabbing.
the attack, Mr. Barrett fled and ran south on North Capitol
Street, hollering for help, and appellant followed him with
the knife in his hand. As Mr. Barrett approached the
apartment complex at 1200 North Capitol Street, Trever
Edelin, a security guard at the complex, emerged to help.
When Mr. Edelin asked who had stabbed him, Mr. Barrett
pointed toward the crowd of onlookers and said, "blue
shirt." Appellant, who was wearing a blue shirt, began
walking away. Mr. Edelin pursued appellant while yelling
"blue shirt" and "stop." Appellant then
pulled out a knife, turned and took a step towards Mr. Edelin
"in a threatening manner." Mr. Edelin saw blood on
appellant's shirt and face when he approached appellant.
Appellant was not directly pointing the knife at him but held
the knife "toward his waistline, back toward his body,
" and he "had it shielded with his body."
Fearing for his life, Mr. Edelin drew his gun. Seeing the
gun, appellant turned around, walked a few steps, and then
threw the knife down a sewer. Mr. Edelin eventually succeeded
in restraining and handcuffing appellant with the aid of a
fellow officer from the complex.
The AAWA Instruction
charge of AAWA was based on the stabbing of Mr. Barrett in
the alley. The trial court gave the jury the following
The elements of the crime of aggravated assault while armed,
each of which the Government must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt are that, one, Nathaniel Cousart caused serious bodily
injury to Darfus Barrett; and, two, Nathaniel Cousart either,
A, intended to cause serious bodily injury to Darfus Barrett,
or, B, knew that serious bodily injury to Darfus Barrett
would result from his conduct, or, C, was aware that his