Homicide Defendant Refuses to Stay in Hearing, Demands New Attorneys

A homicide defendant refused to proceed with a June 27 status conference unless the judge agreed to appoint him new attorneys.

Daryl Thompson, also known as Darryl Tompkims, is indicted on 14 charges, including two counts of first-degree murder while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a license outside of a home or business, obstructing justice and threat to kidnap or injure a person for his alleged roles in the deaths of Edward Roberts Jr. and Tyler McEachern. Roberts, 29, was fatally shot on the 3500 block of 14th Street, NW, on July 30, 2016. McEarchern, 23, was fatally shot on the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace, SE, on Aug. 29, 2016.

The 33-year-old defendant expressed his desire to fire his defense attorneys Dana Page and Pierce Suen upon entering the courtroom.

Thompson told DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan that his attorneys, despite his fervent objections, proceeded to challenge a Nov. 10, 2021, report filed by the DC Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) that found him competent to stand trial. 

The judge initially found Thompson incompetent to stand trial on Aug. 28, 2018, ordering the defendant to receive treatment at St. Elizabeths Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution. DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz denied the prosecution’s request for forced medication to restore competence on Sept. 8, 2021.   

“I will turn around and go back to my cell until you appoint me a new attorney,” Thompson told Judge Raffinan. “I do not want Dana Page and Pierce Suen representing me.” 

Thompson has repeatedly refused to complete psychological evaluations since his 2016 arrest.

“I refuse to do another competency evaluation,” Thompson said.

Judge Raffinan decided to deny the defendant’s request at this point in the judicial process. 

“They are very experienced lawyers,” Judge Raffinan said. “For this phase, I am not going to replace these attorneys.”

Thomspon refused to remain in court, saying the case could not proceed in his absence. Escorted by US Marshalls, he left the courtroom while continuing to yell “these are not my attorneys!”

The defense requested to remain on the case. According to Suen, new representation would not address the root cause of the conflict because “any counsel would have to explore the competency issue.”

“It is our position that he is presently incompetent to fire his attorneys,” Suen said. 

The prosecution did not object. 

Judge Raffinan agreed to move forward with a hearing to rule on Thompson’s competency to stand trial.

The prosecution filed an opposition to the defense’s motion to assign the burden of proof of competency to the prosecution during the hearing.

Judge Raffinan scheduled a status conference for July 26 to address the prosecution’s opposition to the defense’s motion and to schedule the hearing to address Thompson’s competency.