Judge Finds Probable Cause for Co-Defendants in Homicide Case

A DC Superior Court judge ruled that the evidence against two defendants is strong enough to bring their cases to trial. One of the defendants is charged with murder, while the other is charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with physical evidence. 

Reginald Hooks, 35,  is charged with second-degree murder while armed for allegedly stabbing 22-year-old Dy’Mani Priestley on Jan 5 on the 1200 block of U Street, NW.

His co-defendant, Ladaryl Canty, 49, is accused of taking the murder weapon from a witness a few days after the homicide. The murder weapon has not been recovered.

The defense alleges that Canty returned the murder weapon to the witness who was not aware the knife was used in a crime.

The prosecution alleges that the stabbing occurred after Hooks and Priestly were involved in an altercation between two groups of people. 

The prosecution produced video evidence that allegedly shows Hooks lunging at the victim’s chest. However, the video did not show a clear picture and defense attorney James King pointed out that there was no knife visible in the video. 

King also said the video does not show the victim clutching his chest or reacting to the lunge in any way. 

“When the government chooses to call witnesses who are far removed from the facts of the case, they do so at their own peril,” he said. 

He also pointed out that the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detective only spoke to three of the witnesses and gave little additional evidence to what was already described in court documents.

In regards to Canty, the prosecutor argued that a witness told investigating detectives that he had given the murder weapon to Canty. She also argued that Canty knew Hooks was involved in a stabbing.

Defense attorney Kevin Mosley, Canty’s attorney, argued that the detective did not speak to the witness and could not offer any additional facts about the interaction. Mosley also argued that the prosecution cannot prove what his client knew at what time. 

“It is, in regard to Mr. Canty, paper-thin,” Judge Todd Edelman said. 

However, Judge Edelman found probable cause citing the argument that Canty returned to the scene looking for the knife days after the murder.

Judge Edleman decided to release Canty. 

Hooks was on supervised release at the time of the homicide. With this in mind, Judge Edelman decided to continue holding him at DC Jail. 

The next hearing for both defendants will take place on May 11.

Maria Marzullo wrote this article