- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

Washington, D.C. police cleared up one of a large number of unsolved homicide cases that have frustrated investigators over the past three months.

Police announced yesterday that Jason Lisher, 23, of Glydon Court in Bowie, Md., turned himself in Saturday and was charged with felony murder in the shooting death of an Alexandria, Va. woman in May.

The body of Vidalina Semino, 54, was found in a wooded area at 22nd and T places SE after an off-duty police officer heard gunshots at about 1:30 a.m. on May 6.

Last week, police released a photo from a camera at a bank ATM of a man they said used Miss Semino's ATM card the night she was killed.

Police are looking for three other suspects in the case. With Mr. Lisher in custody and information that may come out in his arraignment today police hope to unravel other unsolved cases.

Meanwhile, two more killings Saturday the 15th and 16th in August alone added to a spurt of homicides in the city, which have been declining over the past few years.

The District had 228 homicides last year; 260 in 1998; 301 in 1997 and 397 in 1996.

In 1991, 489 persons were killed, causing late-night television pundits to label D.C. the "homicide capital of the nation."

The case of Miss Semino, who worked at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, first broke open when police distributed the ATM photo. They immediately received phone calls from the public, and Mr. Lisher turned himself in without incident.

"This was an innocent lady who was murdered for her money," said Lt. Scott Dignan of the 6th District yesterday. "The ATM card was used within minutes of the gunshots."

The photo was taken at the Bank of America in the 2100 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE.

"We didn't want to let the case get stagnant," Lt. Dignan said of releasing the photos to the media. "We decided to go ahead … and it worked in our favor. In hindsight, I probably would have released [the photo] earlier."

Miss Semino was a 27-year employee at the Omni Shoreham at 2500 Calvert St. NW. She left work at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 5.

She had parked her 1993 burgundy Plymouth Sundance on Calvert Street while she was at work, police said. Her car was found in Southeast, where police say she was killed.

The two men killed Saturday were victims of unrelated shootings, one in Northwest and one in Southeast.

In the first incident, two men were shot at 14th Street and Columbia Road NW at about 11 p.m. One man, 24, was pronounced dead at the Washington Hospital Center. Police are withholding his name until relatives are notified. The other man was shot in the leg and is now a witness in the case.

Police believe a group of men in a car stopped near a group of men on foot, and one man got out of the car and opened fire. He then got back in the car as it drove away. Police are searching for a green four-door Honda Accord. Police urge anyone with information about the shooting to call 202/576-6726.

About an hour later two more men were shot, again one fatally, in the 1700 block of T Street SE. Police believe the shooter in this case drove his car alongside of John Patterson, who was sitting in his car, got out and shot him once and wounded another victim, who was on the sidewalk. Mr. Patterson, 24, was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. at Washington Hospital Center. Anyone with information in this case should call 202/727-4515, police say. They are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information helping solve either case.

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