Judge Denies Motion to Suppress Witness Identification

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On Nov. 16, DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein denied a motion to suppress the identification of a homicide defendant. 

Devonte Brothers, 29, is charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, among other charges, for his alleged involvement in the murder of 27-year-old Deron Leake on Oct. 17, 2019, on the 4200 block of 6th Street, SE. The incident also left one individual suffering from non-life threatening injuries. 

Brothers’ defense counsel, Molly Bunke and Dominique Winters, filed a motion to suppress a witness’s identification of Brothers as a suspect. Bunke and Winters argued the photo identification process, as well as behavior from the detectives when performing the identification, was unjust. 

Judge Epstein denied the motion, saying the photo array used to identify Brothers was not unduly suggestive. He explained that the procedure was done using a double-blind method meaning the person administering the test didn’t know the identify of the suspect so the officer couldn’t prompt the witness.

Judge Epstein said the defense objections go more towards weight of the evidence and not its permissibility overall. The judge said the prosecution had produced evidence the identification from the witness was reliable.

The parties are expected back to begin trial on Nov. 27. 

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