Judge Finds Probable Cause For 4 Defendants in Murder Hearing

A DC Superior Court judge found that a case for four co-defendants charged with the murder of an 11-year-old boy has enough evidence to go to trial, but with lesser charges than those originally filed.  

The Oct. 2 proceedings concluding the three day long preliminary hearing.

Carlo General, Christen Wingfield, Marcel Gordon and Daryle Bond are charged with first-degree murder while armed in the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Davon McNeal. The shooting occurred on July 4 on the 1400 block of Cedar Street, SE.

Judge Neal Kravitz did not find probable cause based on the original charges. However, he did find probable cause for second-degree murder while armed for each of the defendants. Their charges were updated accordingly.

Judge Kravitz made his finding under what is known as the “depraved-heart theory of malice.” 

The prosecution argued that the four defendants were acting as one, as they were shown on surveillance footage throughout the neighborhood running while armed. 

The four were allegedly shooting towards an alley that they thought was occupied by a rival neighborhood gang. In the process of shooting, one of the shots killed McNeal, which is what the prosecution argued was transferred intent.

“It’s too ambiguous or speculative that the defendants were trying to kill somebody in that alley,” said Judge Kravitz. 

Bond’s, 19, attorney, James King, argued that there’s no evidence to suggest that his client had an intent to kill anyone. 

“As the video shows…where there are people running across where the decedent died, two people are shown shooting, none of those people are identified as Mr. Bond,” said King. 

However, Judge Kravitz did argue that there was aiding and abetting from Bond. He was identified in the surveillance footage by the detective that was on the stand. King maintained that Bond did not fire his weapon and it was not reckless disregard. 

One of General’s attorneys, Mary Kennedy, argued that there are identification issues for her client. One of the witnesses identified General from an Instagram photo where he is wearing all white, uploaded on the day of the shooting. 

The detective tied General to the shooting based on his clothes, which in Kennedy’s opinion was not sufficient evidence. 

“The identifications are sufficient to show probable cause for all four of the defendants who have been charged,” said Judge Kravitz.

Wingfield’s attorney, Robert Bryan, argued that there was no evidence that his client even fired one shot based on the video footage. 

However, Judge Kravitz said the same thing that he did to King. According to Judge Kravitz, because they were all running together while armed in the videos, there is proof that the defendants are aiding each other.

Gordon’s attorney, Howard McEachern, argued that there were two witnesses near the scene when the incident occurred that did not identify his client. The two witnesses also knew Gordon for many years, which would make it easy for them to identify him, according to McEachern. 

During King’s cross-examination of the detective, a video of an incident from June 29 was used as evidence. 

The video showed a black Audi, in which members of a neighborhood rival, Choppa City, were allegedly driving down the alleyway of the Cedar Gardens neighborhood and fired shots. According to the detective, this was retaliation for a robbery that was committed prior. 

King asked the detective what one of the witnesses said they heard during the incident. The detective said that one of the witnesses said they heard machine guns or assault rifles. 

“Machine guns or assault rifles are also called choppaz in street slang,” said King. “Choppa city is the rival neighborhood gang.”

Judge Kravitz decided to hold Bond, General and Wingfield, 22. All three defendants either have pending cases or have been convicted of firearms charges which Judge Kravitz argued would make them a danger to the community. 

However, Gordon, 25, only has a conviction for not paying a metro fare. Judge Kravitz scheduled a hearing for Oct. 5 to see if Gordon is eligible for the High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP).

Judge Kravitz also scheduled a status hearing for Jan. 8 for all four defendants. 

Saif Habboub wrote this article