Judge Denies Release for Murder Defendant

A DC Superior Court judge denied a murder defendant’s fourth release request.

Stephon Evans, 21, Alonzo Brown, 21, Tavist Alston, 25, and Naquel Henderson, 22, are charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 22-year-old Michael Taylor on the 1700 block of Benning Road, NE, on Jan. 12, 2019. 

During the Aug. 24 hearing, defense attorney Marnitta King asked Judge Juliet McKenna to release her client into the High Intensity Supervision Program. She said it does not make sense to hold the defendant due to his alleged role in the murder. Alston is accused of acting as a getaway driver, not a shooter, she noted.

King also said that Alston has earned his GED and has become a peer counselor on recommendation from his teacher since being detained at DC Jail.

King also said that Alston has health problems, and while jail staff has been sending him to various hospitals in search of effective treatment, she argued that his health issues would be better addressed if he was out of jail. But the prosecution argued that the jail is well equipped to handle health-related issues.

Judge Mckenna ultimately denied the release request. She cited the probable cause finding made during his preliminary hearing and noted that there was evidence that the incident was gang-related due to the weapons found at his home during a search warrant.

Alston’s trial is scheduled to take place from Oct. 6 until Nov. 11, 2022. He is also scheduled for a trial readiness hearing on Dec. 17.

Alston is also charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence and assault with intent to kill while armed in this case.

Carlos Turner, 23, is also charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with Taylor’s death. He is scheduled for a status hearing on Jan. 5, 2022.

Evans is also charged with first-degree murder while armed, conspiracy while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and carrying a pistol without a license in the death of 21-year-old Dion DeMarco Boyd on July 30, 2018, on the 1400 block of Maryland Avenue, NE. Kewon Hunter is also charged in connection with this homicide.