Defendant in Teen Stabbing Murder Remains in ‘Secure Detention.’

DC Superior Court Judge James Crowell IV ruled that the adolescent Maryland girl accused in the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Naima Liggon be detained awaiting trial.  

The 16-year-old suspect’s name isn’t being reported because of a court order to protect the juvenile’s identity.  She’s being charged with second-degree murder in connection with an Aug. 27 incident that occurred at a McDonald’s restaurant on the 1900 block of 14th Street, NW.

The crime which has garnered national publicity prompted the suspect’s attorney to ask that the media be barred from covering court proceedings in the interest of confidentiality–a request the judge denied. 

Prosecutors say the suspect “attacked” Liggon and pursued her in the back seat of her car.  She was taken to a local hospital “in a privately owned vehicle” to get treatment for stab wounds but ultimately succumbed to her injuries.   

These actions, say the prosecution, show a “complete disregard for human life” and the teen should remain in “secure detention.”  She previously entered the juvenile equivalent of a not guilty plea.

The defense acknowledged, meanwhile, that what happened was “unfortunate” and “tragic” but not intended.  She didn’t “choose to cause harm.”

Rather the defendant was allegedly punched repeatedly by Liggon and pushed to the ground.  

Further, a witness to the altercation didn’t see a knife and, as the defense views it, there’s a strong argument for a claim of self-defense.  However, a plea offer would be considered. 

Judge Crowell said this is an early stage to raise the self-defense argument that according to precedent requires that an individual must be in imminent danger and whether the response is a proportionate reaction to the circumstances.  He also noted that the defendant was being held under “substantial probable cause” that she allegedly committed the crime and that the victim was unarmed. 

In arguing for home detention, the defense noted that the suspect is a “good child” who responds to parental authority, serves as a hostess at a local restaurant, and is home schooled as an eleventh grader.  

However, questions were raised about whether the suspect had broken curfew by staying out until 4 a.m. 

Based on the evidence, Judge Crowell ruled that the juvenile remain in custody and that she undergo a complete psychiatric and psycho-social evaluation.  

Trial date in the case was set for Oct. 12.

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