Experts Expected to Testify on Murder Defendant’s Competence to Stand Trial

A DC Superior Court judge scheduled a hearing for experts to testify about a murder defendant’s competency to stand trial.

Jaykell Mason is charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting 29-year-old Terence Dantzler on the 700 block of 8th Street, NW, on Feb. 13, 2020. The 21-year-old is also charged with assault on a police officer while armed.

An April report from the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) found Mason competent to stand trial; however, defense attorney Roderick Thompson objected to the findings and hired his own expert, who has since evaluated the defendant twice.

During the June 28 hearing, Thompson told Judge John Campbell he expects his expert to have their second evaluation report done by the end of the week.

Judge John Campbell scheduled mental observation hearings for Oct. 7 and 8. The prosecution plans to call the doctor at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, DC’s psychiatric hospital, who found Mason competent to testify at that time. The defense plans to call three witnesses.

Judge Campbell also said the experts’ written reports will be considered their direct examination, which will allow the parties to jump straight into a cross-examination when the hearing begins.

Judge Campbell set Aug. 16 as the date when all expert reports must be exchanged between parties.