Judge Denies Homicide Defendant’s Release After He Fled Area For 2 Years

During a Nov. 9 hearing, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun found probable cause for a homicide defendant after reviewing evidence and learning that the defendant fled the District for two years. 

Dreaun Young, 19, is charged with second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Michael Brittingham on Aug. 6, 2020, on the 600 block of 46th Street, SE. On Aug. 29, 2022, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) located and arrested 19-year-old Dreaun Young in Hollywood, Calif. for an ongoing rape case before later finding out that he was wanted by the US Marshalls for a murder charge. He was extradited to Washington, DC on Sept. 20.

“Young fled for two years and had to be aided by someone else because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense with no established credit line,” Judge Okun said. “Therefore acting with a conscious disregard.”

As part of the prosecution’s argument, evidence of Young and Brittingham in a verbal confrontation was shown to the judge.

According to the witness, Brittingham and Young were arguing over money. Brittingham allegedly sold drugs in the area and Young owed him money.

The video also showed Young standing in front of an ice cream truck when Brittingham went to his car and came back to get into Young’s face and possibly assaulted him. The video displayed Brittingham doing these actions before he was shot nine times at close range.

“The shooter was identified as Young by an officer on the scene from a prior arrest,” the prosecutor said. “If he acted out of self-defense, he wouldn’t have fled the scene to Maryland and then to California where he resided for two years after the shooting.”

Defense Attorney Dana Page argued that the video wasn’t of good quality to prove Young was the shooter and that if he was it was self-defense. She said Brittingham was known to be violent due to allegations of him possibly being involved in a double homicide.

“If my client was present in the video he fled because he feared for his life since those other individuals on the scene took off after him knowing they are gang members and possibly may be connected to a double homicide,” Page said. “Those individuals didn’t seem chaotic about Brittingham’s death, but more in a rush to leave after the suspect fled the scene. It’s apparent something was taken off the body and handed to the ice cream man.” 

Page also mentioned, after the crime occurred, Young’s brother was brutally beaten by gang members who were searching for Young. 

“I  understand both of the parties’ viewings of the video, but I will have to side with the prosecution,” Judge Okun said. “It is apparent that there is some form of argument going on between the two, but the victim is clearly holding a hotdog and not seen with a gun. The video doesn’t even display the assault Brittingham allegedly did and for him to be shot nine times at close range is not an act of self-defense.” 

Judge Okun detained Young at the DC Jail for the safety of the community. 

According to court documents, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to a shot spotter alert on the 600 block of 46th Street, SE, where they located a male victim not breathing but suffering from apparent gunshot wounds to the right thigh, left thigh, left shoulder, center chest, upper back, lower middle back and torso. Brittingham was pronounced dead on the scene.

The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25

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