Judge Denies Prosecution’s Motion to Involuntarily Medicate Murder Defendant

A DC Superior Court judge denied a prosecutor’s request to involuntarily medicate a murder defendant.

Daryl Thompson, also known as Darryl Tompkins, is charged with first-degree murder while armed for his alleged roles in the deaths of Edward Roberts Jr. and Tyler McEachern.  Roberts, 29, was fatally shot on the 3500 block of 14th Street, NW, on July 30, 2016. McEarchern, 23, was fatally shot on the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace, SE, on Aug. 29, 2016.

The 30-year-old defendant has refused psychological evaluations on multiple occasions throughout the trajectory of his case. The prosecution has been seeking to involuntarily medicate the defendant in an effort to restore his competency to stand trial over the objections of the defense. Parties finished their arguments during the Sept. 9 hearing.

The prosecutor referred to testimony from a Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) doctor, who recommended the use of a psychiatric medication used in a study to treat patients with a similar diagnosis to the defendant. Although the patients in the study did not have the exact same diagnosis as Thompson, the prosecution said there are “insufficient studies” for Thompson’s diagnosis. The one they pointed to was the most relevant, he said.

However, defense attorney Pierce Suen argued that there is insufficient clinical evidence to show that the involuntary medication would restore Thompson’s competency.

Judge Neal Kravitz ultimately said the prosecution had failed to satisfy some of the requirements for involuntary medication. He said the DBH doctor was not incorrect in her testimony and was “well-intended,” but that the study was unreliable due to its limited relevance.

Suen asked Judge Kravitz to find his client unlikely to become competent to stand trial in the foreseeable future, arguing that, “there is no indication that he will ever attain competency,” and that they are at a point in time where his competency is unlikely to change. Judge Kravitz, however, denied this request.

Judge Kravitz ordered a full mental health evaluation due to the length of time since the defendant’s last one. Parties are scheduled to reconvene for a mental observation hearing on Oct. 14.

Thompson is also charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a license outside a home or business, obstructing justice and threat to kidnap or injure a person in this case.