Interview Footage Examined During Trial for Fatal Apartment Shooting

 A murder trial resumed with jurors viewing footage of a police interview with the defendant.

Chad Hawthorne is on trial for allegedly shooting 35-year-old Antonio Bassett in an apartment on the 3900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  The homicide took place during the early hours of May 22, 2017.

The proceedings began with the lead detective on the case taking the stand, answering brief questions about his role in the case. 

The prosecution showed multiple videos of the defendant and witnesses walking around the basement and first floors of the apartment moments before the shooting. One exhibit showed Hawthorne conversing with a witness in a doorway.

Before Hawthorne was arrested, he had a voluntary interview with a detective. In it, he described being at the crime scene when the shooting occurred.

“This night he let in four guys,” Hawthorne said. “While I was sleeping, I heard gunshots and fled.”

Hawthorne would pay $40 a week to stay in the apartment when he needed space from arguing with his mother. He said he always had a problem with people coming in and out of the apartment but never was concerned because it happened constantly. 

In the early parts of the interview, Hawthrone said an individual he has known for years told him authorities were looking for him.

As the interview progressed, the detective wanted to know what Hawthrone remembered from the night of the murder. Hawthorne said he remembered one of the witnesses and the unknown male in the black hoodie arguing before he used the bathroom. That is when he heard gunshots and fled the scene. 

This statement was different from one he gave previously when he said he was sleeping when the gunfire rang out.  

“Wait, I am confused, you say you were woken up by gunshots earlier,” the detective said. “So did they wake you up or did you hear them after you used the bathroom?”

Hawthorne told the detective he used the bathroom outside and cameras will back his story. As he arrived back to the room, Hawthorne said it was the unknown male in a black hoodie arguing with Bassett. 

“After I came back from using the bathroom outside they were still arguing,” he said. “The guy was standing right next to me when he was shooting. I did not ask any questions. I just put on my shoes and grabbed some clothes and left.”

The detective sat back in his chair.

“The guy was standing right next to you shooting somebody,” He said. “You feel safe enough to put on your shoes and get your shirt. Because earlier you told me you were sleeping, then you tell me you ran out of the apartment with your socks on. Now you tell me you had on shoes.”

Around the three-hour mark of the interview, the lead detective stepped out of the room so another detective could speak with him. This detective took a more aggressive approach to his questioning.

“I have been doing this for a long time, you have been filling in blanks of what the witnesses told you. I need you to tell me the story from what you saw and heard,” the detective said.

The detective had reason to believe Bassett had stolen his car when his spare key went missing. “I am going to tell you something that is going to clue you in on where we are in our investigation,” he said. “We know the guy that died last night has been victimizing you.” 

At 3:37 p.m., DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo had the interview paused, deciding the jury had been given enough information for the day. The proceedings are set to resume on March 15.