Acquitted: Defense Alleges MPD Failed to Investigate Leads in Homicide Case

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Editor’s note: On May 30, a jury acquitted Devonte Brothers of all charges connected to the homicide of Deron Leake. Brothers is still being held on homicide charges in another case.

A homicide defendant’s attorney provided evidence to a jury in DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein of other possible suspects, that a detective testified police did not investigate. 

Devonte Brothers, 29, is charged with first-degree murder while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a prior convict, for his alleged involvement in the murder of 27-year-old Deron Leake, also known as “Snoop”, on Oct. 17, 2019, at the Cascade Apartment Complex on the 4200 block of 6th Street, SE. The incident also left one individual with non-life threatening injuries.

On May 23, Dominique Winters, Brothers’ defense attorney, questioned the case’s lead detective from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) regarding his involvement in the investigation.

The detective stated he arrived at the scene of the incident to assist in the preliminary investigation and help canvas for evidence and suspects.

Winters questioned his ability to locate surveillance footage that depicted the scene in the moments leading up to, during, and following the shooting. 

According to the detective, he and multiple officers canvassed the area for cameras that may have captured the homicide. However, he was unable to obtain one he believes could have captured it.

The detective testified that a woman, who lived across the street from the scene and had a camera facing towards the Cascade Apartment Complex, refused to turn over the footage to MPD.

Winters questioned if he had attempted to acquire it more than once, he testified that he had not. 

In an attempt to prove MPD’s failure to fully investigate the incident, Winters displayed body worn camera footage that depicted the detective telling an officer the homeowner “ain’t f***ing with us,” adding, “I’m gonna get a subpoena and get all of her s***.”

However, the detective testified he never got the subpoena and was never able to acquire the video.

Winters also questioned the detective’s ability to find potential suspects with a motive to kill Leake.

According to Winters, an individual whom Leake had shot in 2017 had been released from the Department of Corrections’ custody three months before Leake’s murder. 

However, she insisted MPD failed to interview him and find out his whereabouts at the time of Leake’s murder. 

Prosecutors argued that was inaccurate, stating that the individual whom Leake had previously shot had been in the community between 2017 and 2018, after Leake had shot him, and had not attempted to kill Leake since.

They also insisted that, during a procedural photo array, the individual was unable to identify Leake as the shooter.

“A lot of times people aren’t willing to identify people that shot them,” Winters responded. 

The defense also called on a cell phone forensics and cell tower data expert, who testified that Brothers’ phone was in the area of the incident at the time of the murder, but is unable to pinpoint the exact location of his cell-phone. 

Parties are slated to return May 28.

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