Man sentenced 35 years for deadly Fourth of July stabbing on Metro train

- A man who pleaded guilty to killing another man on a Metro train in Washington D.C. was sentenced to 35 years in prison Friday.

Jasper Spires fatally stabbed 24-year-old Kevin Sutherland during a robbery on a Red Line train that was approaching the NoMa-Gallaudet U station during the afternoon of July 4, 2015.

Sutherland, a recent graduate of American University who had also taken a new job at the time of his death, entered the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood Metro station traveling on his way to meet friends for a trip to Philadelphia for a Fourth of July celebration.

But as Sutherland stepped onto the train heading downtown that day, he encountered Spires, who had a knife and some gloves. Prosecutors said Spires picked Sutherland as his robbery victim. After grabbing his phone, he stabbed or cut Sutherland more than 30 times.

Spires also robbed others on the moving train before getting off at the NoMa-Gallaudet U station and running away.

Back on the train, several people sat with Sutherland and held his hand as he took his last breath.

“We always, I think, still in the back of our mind think Kevin is going to come home,” said Doug Sutherland, Kevin’s father. “Nothing makes it more real than having to sit down and explain to a judge the impact that your son's murder has on you. We are pretty convinced now that Kevin will never come back. But we are heartened by all the lives that he has touched. He only lived 24 years, but he did a lot in 24 years.”

Spires had no visible reaction during his sentencing, but he did apologize in court and gave a letter to prosecutors that he wants the Sutherland family to have.

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