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Residents asked to submit statements in H Street deli murder

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Local,DC,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

Wednesday night's fire at Frager's Hardware has saddened Capitol Hill residents who frequented the neighborhood business. One year ago, the area was rocked by another business-related tragedy when an H Street Northeast deli owner, Hae Soon "June" Lim, was fatally shot.

The District man convicted of killing Lim, Steven Vondell Williams, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21. Community leaders and the victim's son have asked that people in the deli's neighborhood to submit community impact statements that could influence Williams' sentence. People are typically asked to submit letters by two weeks prior to sentencing, which is scheduled for June 21.

Lim, 64, was found dead at about 6:15 a.m. on June 14, 2012, on the floor of Grace Deli, located on the 700 block of H Street NE, an area on the edge of the up-and-coming H Street Corridor.

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Statements can be emailed to Carolyn Crank, community outreach specialist for the U.S. Attorney's Office, at Carolyn.Crank@usdoj.gov. The following information should be included: Defendant: Steven V. Williams; Case: 2012CF1020477; Judge: Robert E. Morin; Sentencing: June 21, 2013

After the shooting, neighbors created a makeshift memorial outside the deli, putting up signs, flowers and stuffed animals.

"It was clear that the entire community was devastated," Mark Kazmierczak, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area that includes Grace Deli. Neighbors told him that Lim was very friendly.

Williams' DNA was recovered from an empty, brown handgun holster that was found on the floor next to Lim's body. The defendant's DNA was also found on an cash register located inside the deli, behind the counter and away from the customer area, prosecutors said.

Williams, 46, was charged in Lim's slaying in November. He pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to second-degree murder while armed in April. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he is likely to receive a sentence ranging from 20 to 28 years in prison, officials said.

In a column for "Homicide Watch D.C." last month, the victim's son, Peter Lim, asked community members and those who knew his mother to submit statements, saying that the family appreciates the support.

Kazmierczak told The Washington Examiner that it is important for community members to write statements "to really send a message and have justice be served."

The area where the slaying occurred has been safer than it had been in the recent past, so the shooting was "kind of a setback for the area," Kazmierczak said.

David Holmes, chair of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the area across the street from the deli, said that he thinks Williams should get the maximum possible sentence.

"This was a pointless crime against a woman respected in her community and providing a needed business service," he said.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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