Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Charges in Non-Fatal Shooting Trial

At a Sept. 18 jury trial, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan denied a request by co-defendants to dismiss charges against them due to a delay in the signing of a witness immunity order by the Chief Judge of the District Court. 

Dominic Copeland, 33, is charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault knowingly while armed, robbery while armed, unlawful possession of a firearm, and three counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for his alleged involvement in a non-fatal shooting on April 26, 2019, on the unit block of N Street, NW. The incident left an individual experiencing non-life-threatening injuries.  

Artie Byrd, 31, is charged with accessory after the fact for his alleged involvement in assisting Copeland to leave the crime scene. 

Just before the victim was set to testify, the prosecution received an email saying the Chief Judge had not signed a witness immunity order. The victim was served with a witness immunity order to avoid having his statements used to charge him with a crime during his testimony. 

Following the delay, the immunity order was signed and prosecutors were able to call forth the victim. 

The victim testified that Copeland and Byrd were his coworkers at United Masonry in Alexandria, Virginia, where he worked as a bricklayer for a year. 

According to the victim, on the day of the incident, he left work early and had exchanged text messages with Copeland to arrange a drug transaction at the Wendy’s on New York Avenue, NW, which resulted in a shooting.

The victim said after he had spoken with Copeland and Byrd at the Wendy’s, they met at N Street, NW. Upon arriving at the location, the witness said he got out of his car to “conduct business.” 

He offered Copeland money in exchange for narcotics, when Copeland kept the cash, the victim allegedly engaged in a physical struggle with him. Copeland then pulled a gun on the victim. 

The victim allegedly attempted to get back into his car as Copeland started to shoot at him, which led to the victim’s car swerving off the road and hitting a light pole as he attempted to drive off.

Byrd then allegedly pulled up in a white Toyota Camry and helped Copeland flee the scene. 

“Copeland was the one who shot me,” the witness said. “It was a good shot.” 

According to the victim, when he was shot by Copeland, he had no feeling in his body. 

During the trial, the victim pointed to two spots on the right side of his upper back where he had been shot. 

Parties are expected back Sept. 19. 

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