Attorney Requests Murder Defendant’s Release to Halfway House

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A murder defendant’s attorney sought his client’s release into a halfway house.

The defendant, Travis Russell, is charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly stabbing 44-year-old Michael Hooker on May 26, 2019, on the 2700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

According to court documents, Hooker was determined to have died from a “sharp force to the right side of the neck.” He was found by responding officers with severe lacerations to his neck and a piece of glass was found in his wound.

Russell, 37, was detained at DC Jail upon his arrest in June 2019. According to court documents, in April 2020, DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz agreed to the defense’s request to have Russell released to a halfway house. However, days later, the halfway house in question stopped taking new admissions. The following month, it shut down, which prevented Russell from being able to leave the jail, where he has now been for more than two years.

Back in July, defense attorney Mani Golzari motioned for his client to be released into the High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP) instead, with home confinement as an added condition if necessary, but that request was denied.

Golzari asked Judge Kravitz if he knew about any available halfway houses during the Nov. 12 hearing. Judge Kravitz said he did not know about any available houses.

Russell will remain held at DC Jail until further notice is given.

Judge Kravitz also asked the prosecution for an update on DNA testing that had been recently conducted during the hearing.

The prosecution said they have received results from the DNA testing and have shared the results with the defense. Golzari requested a 30-day continuance to allow for DNA to be further examined.

Judge Kravitz scheduled parties to reconvene on Jan. 18.

The trial is set to begin in June. The prosecution expects to call 20 witnesses.

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