Homicide Defendant Rejects Plea Deal

A homicide defendant rejected a plea offer in connection to a 2021 shooting before DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan on July 5.

Khalid Claggett, 38, is charged with first-degree murder while armed with offense committed during release, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and unlawful possession of a firearm with a prior conviction for his alleged role in connection to the shooting of 30-year-old Isaac Aull Jr. on June 11, 2021.

The plea offer, which was initially offered on May 16, would have reduced Claggett’s charges to second-degree murder and would have waived sentencing enhancement, including the stipulation that the offense was allegedly committed while the defendant was on release. 

According to court documents, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to reports of gunshots on the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE. Officers located Aull on the 1600 block of Franklin Street, NE, with no signs consistent with life. He suffered from gunshot wounds to his back torso, right leg and neck. 

The defense also filed a motion to release Claggett while he awaits trial. Claggett has been detained since his arrest on June 24, 2021. 

“Looking at his criminal history, there are no crimes of violence,” defense attorney Howard McEachern said. “Danger to the community cannot be found.”

The prosecution filed an opposition to the motion for release, referring to the defendant’s prior convictions and the March 31 indictment that enhanced the original charge of second-degree murder while armed to first-degree murder while armed.

“Mr. Claggett has a long criminal history that spans back two decades,” the prosecutor said. “The only thing that’s changed is that Mr. Claggett has been indicted on more serious charges.”

The prosecution read a letter from Aull’s mother describing her grief, saying the victim’s family has been in therapy since the murder.

“I would implore you to keep this defendant detained,” the statement read. “I am very fearful for the lives of my family. I would not feel safe if the defendant is free to walk the streets.”

Judge Raffinan ruled in favor of the prosecution, citing that “no combination of conditions can ensure the safety of the community.” 

She said she considered “a number of factors” in her ruling to keep Claggett detained, emphasizing the particular importance of the “nature and circumstances of the case” in reaching her decision.

Judge Raffinan referred to a dash camera video from a vehicle parked near the scene, saying “the decedent appeared to be wounded when the defendant appeared to shoot him eight more times.”

She then stated that Claggett is charged with “the most serious offense that you can be charged with in the District.”

In addition, Judge Raffinan referenced video surveillance and an Instagram Live video that appeared to show Claggett at the scene, the consistency of his appearance with witness descriptions and his known connection to the shooter’s vehicle in determining that the evidence “weighed in favor of detention.”

The trial is currently scheduled for April 3, 2023. 

Judge Raffinan also scheduled a status hearing for Oct. 7.