Judge Continues Preliminary Hearing for Murder Defendant

A DC Superior judge continued a hearing to determine if a murder case has enough evidence to go to trial.

Bratrell Hawkins, 28, is charged with second-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 26-year-old Xavier Tate on the 1400 block of 3rd Street, SW, on Jan. 5, 2020.

During the Oct. 19 hearing, Judge Neal Kravitz determined that the prosecution did not violate Brady rules requiring the disclosure of exculpatory material to the defense.

According to court documents, before the shooting, a witness accused Hawkins of sexually abusing her while she slept, but he denied it.

A Metropolitan Police Department detective who interviewed witnesses said that, while one of the witnesses heard gunshots upstairs, they did not see the alleged sexual abuse.

Defense attorney Suen Pierce argued that his client had to act in self-defense to protect himself from others in the house after being accused of sexual assault. The prosecution, however, argued that Hawkins was retaliating against Tate for coming to the defense of the woman who Hawkins allegedly sexually abused.

Judge Kravitz scheduled the proceedings to pick back up on Oct. 25. Hawkins is currently being held at St. Elizabeths Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution.