The Washington Post
Man gets 14 years for 2018 shooting
Barry Marable entered guilty plea in aspiring social worker’s killing
Both men were just 22 years old that evening in October 2018 when their lives intersected.
Tom Marmet was a Chevy Chase native who wrote his college thesis on political activist Angela Davis and wanted to find solutions to aid the District’s most disadvantaged residents.
Barry Marable, according to attorneys, struggled with mental illness and severe paranoia after he and his younger brother grew up in an abusive foster home following their mother’s drug addiction and his father’s death from cancer.
Marable was the type of District resident Marmet wanted to help. But just before 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, in what his defense attorney said was an episode of uncontrolled paranoia, Marable pulled out a gun and fired aimlessly across a busy street.
Marmet, who had just finished delivering meals as a volunteer for So Others Might Eat (SOME), was struck and killed on his way home as he sat in his Jeep at a red light in Northeast D.C.
On Friday, after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed, a D.C. judge sentenced Marable, now 26, to 14 years in prison.
“What is so hard about this case is the very striking difference between the life experiences of the two people whose lives crossed on that day,” D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal E. Kravitz said. “Mr. Marmet had every
advantage and was making the best of those advantages to help others in a very unselfish way. Mr. Marable had every disadvantage in life. The amount of trauma that he suffered is unspeakable.”
About 10 members of Marmet’s family sat on one side of the courtroom with a large photo of him smiling as they listened to the judge, federal prosecutors, Marable’s attorneys and Marable himself speak.
Kravitz told the courtroom that he read more than 70 letters that Marmet’s family, friends and colleagues wrote.
Marmet’s mother, Elizabeth, slowly read aloud a letter written by Marmet’s sister Sally, who wrote that she chose not to attend the sentencing hearing “to preserve my own mental health.”
In the letter, Sally Marmet playfully described her brother as “goofy and hilarious,” and also knew “exactly how to annoy me.” She also described him as a “pacifist” who “was deeply dedicated to creating a more admirable future.”
Their father, Roger, a D.C. restaurateur who has since emerged as an advocate for victims of violent crime, spoke about losing his “best friend” and described his son as someone who focused on helping others in society who seemed to have been abandoned.
“Tom was a force for good,” Roger Marmet said. “He was an extraordinary child and young man, fighting for justice and for those who were most marginalized and forgotten by us as a society.”
Roger Marmet spoke of how his son chose to help those who have been released from prison, to help them with job training, substance abuse care and resume writing. “Tom believed in them and receiving a second chance. He believed in helping those who didn’t get a fair first chance.
“Tom made the decision to exit the comfort of immense comfort and privilege to place himself close to those who had been forgotten.”
Prosecutors and Marable’s attorneys entered into a sentencing agreement in November that called for a prison sentence between 8.5 years and 16 years. Marable’s attorneys argued for the minimum, while prosecutors petitioned for the maximum.
Kravitz said despite Marable’s personal challenges that may have led to the shooting, he believed Marable’s actions were “reckless and dangerous” and deserved severe punishment to also serve as a deterrent for others.
Marmet’s family had previously expressed outraged by the plea agreement and wanted Marable to go to trial, where if convicted of second-degree murder he could have faced 25 years or more in prison.
Amy Phillips, one of Marable’s public defenders, said that at the time of the shooting, Marable believed he saw someone who he said had attacked him days earlier. Marable was walking with two women who also became frightened and ducked behind a white, concrete wall across the street from the gas station. Prosecutors, however, argued Marable too could have ducked behind the same wall. But instead, he chose to pull out a gun and fire. Marmet was the only person struck.
Phillips said Marable will need extensive mental health treatment and counseling while incarcerated.
Marable, sitting next to his attorneys, spoke briefly: “I just want to say I am willing to take it like a man. I own up to my selfish actions. I want everyone in this courtroom to know I am far from a bad person. When I get out, I will show everybody here I can make a difference to all the people who doubt it. Right now, I feel like I am the worst person in the world. But I’m going to get through it.”
The judge said a longer period of incarceration will better ensure that Marable will receive the treatment he needs.
Meanwhile, Roger Marmet said the escalating crime that reaches across the city, from some of the more affluent neighborhoods of upper Northwest to more economically depressed areas of parts of Southeast Washington and the Washington Highlands, is not being addressed.
“One day a professional athlete, one day a 22-year-old social worker, 12 people shot last week. When are we going to say enough is enough,” the senior Marmet said. “I am dedicating the rest of my life to fixing this problem. Our city is crying out for help as our most marginalized and forgotten are dying in the street.”