Judge Denies Murder Suspect’s Release Even Though Defense Says, ‘He’s Changed’

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Defense lawyer Christen Philips pleaded before DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun in a May 25 hearing that a suspect in a murder caught on surveillance video should be released while awaiting trial.

Malachi McFarland, 23, is charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for allegedly shooting Kerry Odoms, 29, on April 15, 2021, on the 3300 block of 10th Place, SE. 

Philips said that McFarland had “changed in himself,” by becoming an “inquisitive student,” and wanting to continue taking online courses at Georgetown University.  Many of McFarland’s family members were in the courtroom, indicating, as Philips said, that he has a strong support network and is on the path to rehabilitation.

Prosecutors argued exactly the opposite.  They said whatever changes may have come over McFarland they don’t outweigh his dangerousness and the “overwhelming evidence” against him.  To support their argument they played surveillance video allegedly showing McFarland shooting Odoms. 

According to a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) report of the incident, “[McFarland] walked over to the decedent, produced a handgun and fired multiple times toward the decedent at close range.” 

In addition, the prosecution says McFarland was convicted of a prior firearms violation. 

Judge Okun agreed with the prosecution saying that even though McFarland had done well in jail, the evidence weighed “heavily, heavily in favor of detention.’

A trial readiness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 9:30 a.m. 

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