Judge Continues Motion Hearing for Defendant

DC Superior Court Judge Danya Dayson continued a motion hearing for a 2021 homicide case as she waits for the defendant to be released from quarantine at the DC Jail. 

William Davenport, 29, is charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting 27-year-old Leonard Turner on May 14, 2021, on the 400 block of 2nd St, NW. According to court documents, Turner suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body and succumbed to his injuries later that day. 

Despite hearing arguments from both parties, Judge Dayson refrained from making a ruling on the defense’s motion for release, insisting upon waiting for Davenport’s release from quarantine. 

“I’ll rule when Mr. Davenport is present,” Judge Dayson said. 

The July 21 hearing was a continuance of a previous motion hearing that occurred on June 23, where defense attorney Jacqueline Cadman filed a motion for the court to reconsider the probable cause and detention findings from Davenport’s preliminary hearing in November 2021. 

During the hearing, Judge Dayson heard arguments from both the prosecution and defense regarding Davenport’s detention status. The prosecution decided to not add on more evidence despite requesting more time for preparation during the previous June 23 hearing. 

Cadman previously argued, during the June 23 hearing, that since the surveillance video of the robbery and the still shots from the footage were precluded, the prosecution’s case had been substantially weakened. 

The surveillance footage of the incident was precluded from evidence following the prosecution’s violation of not disclosing pertinent information to the defense, such as specific written statements, oral statements, documents and objects.

Without it, Cadman said, legal identification of Davenport and relevant witnesses are near impossible.

The prosecutor requested that Davenport remain in detention. Due to the hole left by the omitted surveillance footage, prosecutors maintained that Judge Dayson focus on other factors to determine Davenport’s detention or release.

Of these factors, prosecutors highlighted the fact that Davenport has been arrested 17 times since 2012, the nature of Davenport’s crime of violence, and Davenport’s alleged distribution of drugs in front of a local shelter. 

“There is no case law that says the weight of these factors change the closer you get to trial and the further you are from arrest,” Judge Dayson stated.

Judge Dayson said her concern is that, due to the omission of the tapes, the prosecutor’s case will not stand in trial.

The prosecution still maintained that there was more evidence but was not willing to disclose it.

“I’m supposed to assess evidence that I hear and know about,” Judge Dayson said. 

Prosecutors claimed that the omission of the video and still shots does not detract from the previous finding of probable cause in Davenport’s preliminary hearing. 

Cadman requested that Davenport be placed under the high intensity supervision program (HISP). She said Davenport would be able to attain employment and live with family upon release.

Cadman also noted that Davenport is working with fellow inmates to create a non-profit called “Stay Out” to help former inmates reintegrate into society.

“Given the weakness of the government’s argument, release is the only appropriate option,” Cadman said. 

The hearing is scheduled to continue on July 29.