Judge Finds Probable Cause for Double Homicide Case

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After a two-day preliminary hearing, a judge found probable cause that the defendant could have committed a double homicide.

Amarii Fontanelle, 19,  is charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting 19-year-old Reginald Lamont Cooper, Jr. and 19-year-old Davonte Berkley on Oct. 17, 2022 on the 1300 block of Congress Street, SE. He is also accused of shooting a third victim, who ultimately survived. 

Judge Raffinan found probable cause. but she said she was unable to identify a strong probability because of the contradictions in one witness’ testimony, the ambiguity around the number of persons at the time of the shooting, and potential events that might have taken place inside the apartment complex.

During the hearing, that began on Feb. 13, Defense attorney Kevin Mosley asked for his client to be released under the High-Intensity Supervision Program (HISP). 

He said the defendant had a traumatic past, citing a traumatic occurrence that happened when Fontanelle was 12 years old. According to Mosley, a 17 year old was involved in an argument with the defendant, who was 12-years-old at the time, and burst into the defendant’s home, shot and killed the defendant’s mother and shot Fontanelle.

He survived the incident but had to receive significant counseling between the ages of 12 and 14. 

Judge Raffinan agreed to Fontanelle’s release on home confinement. 

The lead detective on the case said the defendant was seen on surveillance footage parking a light colored vehicle and walking into an apartment complex with a witness.

The defendant was allegedly wearing a light colored jacket, light colored jeans, and light colored sneakers. The witness was seen wearing a black sweatshirt, pink sweatpants, and black slides. 

Approximately 35 minutes after the suspect arrived, the victims were seen driving into the parking lot outside of the apartment complex, parking a light colored vehicle and then walking into the apartment complex. 

The suspect is seen standing at the main entrance of the double doors. Cooper is seen exiting his vehicle and meeting Fontanelle. The two greeted each other with a handshake and were standing at the entrance door.

The suspect then led the two men into the entrance door. The men were inside for almost three minutes before the shooting. 

According to the lead detective, shots were seen coming from the suspect in the direction of the two men. 

During cross-examination, Mosley questioned the clarity of the image of everyone in the apartment complex at the time of the shooting. 

He also stated that no one identified Fontanelle as the shooter. 

Mosley also inquired about two eye witnesses who called police and administered medical help to the victims.

One of the witnesses was a young man who was seen walking up to his third floor apartment and returned back to the landing where the two victims were shot a short while after. 

Mosley asked if the man was ever questioned about why he went up to his apartment and if he took anything from the scene.

“No,” the detective replied. 

Parties are set to reconvene on March 17. 

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