Judge Arraigns Homicide Defendant

A defense attorney in a homicide case voiced concerns over his client’s length and conditions of confinement during an arraignment hearing.

Tyrell Powell was initially charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 22-year-old Semaj Alsobrooks on the 3900 block of East Capitol Street, NE, on Sept. 4, 2019.

The 24-year-old defendant has now been indicted on charges of felony murder while armed, assault with intent to kill and assault with significant bodily injury. He pleaded not guilty to all counts during the July 20 hearing. 

Defense attorney Jason Tulley said he has received “an absolute lack” of materials related to the case.

“The court has been overly generous to the government, giving them extra time to gather information to form the basis of this ruling, and they still do not have the information,” he said. 

The prosecutor said she would give Tulley everything she could within the next week. 

“This was the first time that Mr. Tulley raised anything while I’ve been on personally in a hearing, or to me in an email,” she said. 

Tulley also asked for his client’s release, pointing out how long Powell may have to wait for a trial and the psychological effects of his conditions of confinement.

“Solitary confinement, which is what Mr. Powell has faced for all this time, has an incredibly detrimental effect on mental health,” Tulley said. “It is an emergency for Mr. Powell, and I believe it hasn’t been treated as such.” 

Powell was charged with murder in November 2019. Judge Milton Lee acknowledged the length of his detention, but did not agree to release him. 

“The defense has argued that the delay should rest on the prosecution, I reject that,” he said. “The reason for the delay has been pandemic related.” 

Judge Lee scheduled a felony status conference for Sept. 10.