Judge Denies Request for Post-Indictment Preliminary Hearing in Murder Case

A DC Superior Court judge denied a defense attorney’s request to hold a preliminary hearing for a murder defendant who was indicted in 2020.

Robert Henson is accused of shooting 37-year-old Richard Lee Dudley on Dec. 10, 2018, on the 2500 block of Elvans Road, SE. The 42-year-old defendant faces charges of first-degree murder while armed, armed robbery, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Preliminary hearings serve to determine if a case has enough evidence to go to trial. The court is generally required to conduct these hearings for felony defendants, but this requirement has an exception for defendants who, like Henson, have already been indicted.

During Henson’s most recent hearing on March 29, defense attorney David Knight requested a preliminary hearing on the basis that the defense has not received notice of discovery evidence including footage from the Metropolitan Police Department. The prosecutor opposed this request and said they need more time to review the evidence and decide what must be turned over to the defense.

DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo denied the defense’s request for a preliminary hearing but ordered the prosecution to turn over materials related to the grand jury proceedings for this case by April 8.

Parties are scheduled to reconvene on June 3.