Domestic Violence Defendant Seeks to Represent Himself

A domestic violence defendant filed a pro se motion to represent himself in court.

The defendant is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a pistol without a license and second-degree cruelty to children. He is currently being held at DC Jail.

During a Jan. 7 hearing, the defendant indicated that he wants to continue his case pro se. This is not the first time he has made requests on his own behalf. In May 2021, he asked to have his charges dismissed entirely. How dismissal works was explained to him in detail and in response, his lawyers asked for him to receive a mental evaluation before continuing with the case.

Two months ago, he told the court he planned on doing this and his lawyers took the time to explain to him in court what this would mean for his case, pushing his trial out and receiving a competency evaluation. Yet during the Jan. 7 proceedings, he decided that instead of being defended by attorneys Howard McEachern and Donna Beasley, he only wanted them serving advisory roles.

DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun decided to hold off on ruling to transfer the defendant to St. Elizabeths Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution, for a criminal responsibility evaluation. From there, they will determine if he is mentally competent to defend himself.

A mental observation hearing is scheduled for March 29.