Judge Finds Homicide Defendant Competent to Stand Trial

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On March 22, DC Superior Court Judge Michael O’Keefe found a homicide defendant competent to stand trial during a status hearing.

Joseph Melton, 54, is charged with first-degree murder while armed, assault with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or business, and possession of a prohibited weapon for his alleged involvement in a stabbing that claimed 48-year-old Kevin Chamberlain’s life. The incident occurred on Jan. 14, 2020, on the 700 block of 24th Street, NW. Melton is also charged with assault with intent to kill for his alleged involvement in a stabbing incident that injured one individual on Jan. 14, 2020, on the 800 block of Vermont Ave, NW.

Melton expressed interest in a plea agreement, which would lower his murder charge from first-degree murder while armed to second-degree murder while armed. Prosecutors also agreed to drop the assault with a deadly weapon and assault with intent to kill charges if Melton chose to accept the deal.

For the time being, Melton will remain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution, until his next hearing despite being found competent.

Parties are set to reconvene for a status hearing on March 25 to give the prosecution time to provide paperwork for a plea agreement to defense counsel.

If a plea is not accepted, Melton’s jury trial is scheduled to begin on April 29. 

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