Image: Alan Senitt
Alan Senitt was killed in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood in July 2006.
updated 8/24/2007 6:33:24 PM ET 2007-08-24T22:33:24

Two men who admitted robbing and killing an aspiring British politician on a Georgetown street were sentenced Friday to more than three decades in prison.

Jeffrey Rice and Christopher Piper pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder and robbery for the July 2006 death of Alan Senitt, 27, in the city’s upscale Georgetown neighborhood. Senitt’s throat was slashed as he tried to protect a female companion from robbery and sexual assault.

It was a “savage and senseless killing,” said Neal Kravitz, District of Columbia Superior Court judge, as he sentenced Rice to 52 years in prison and Piper to 37.

Both men apologized during the hearing and said they hadn’t intended for the robbery to end in murder. Senitt’s mother, Karen Senitt, urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence, saying there was no way to justify what happened.

Senitt had worked for Greville Jenner in the British House of Lords and was in Washington to study political fundraising. He also volunteered at a political action committee for former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

Briton tries to protect woman
He and the woman were walking home from a movie on July 9, 2006, when a group of men in their 20s came up to them carrying a pellet gun painted to look like a handgun. Piper stole the woman’s purse and reached inside her blouse, according to prosecutors. Rice then stabbed Senitt as he tried to protect her.

The prison terms also include time for several robberies the men committed shortly before the Senitt murder, a sex charge against Piper for assaulting Senitt’s companion and gun charges against Rice.

A 15-year-old boy also pleaded guilty to juvenile charges, and a fourth defendant awaits sentencing for charges related to driving the getaway car.

Piper and Rice both had criminal records and served prison time for offenses that included drug possession and robbery.

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