Judge Finds Probable Cause for Fatal Stabbing Case

A DC Superior Court judge ruled that a fatal stabbing case has enough evidence to go to trial.

David Rhodes, 53, is charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the May 9 killing of 47-year-old Georgette Banks.

According to court documents, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers found Banks in the fourth floor stairwell of a building on the 2600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. She was unconscious and suffering from multiple stab wounds.

During the Nov. 1 preliminary hearing, the prosecution showed surveillance footage of a man believed to be the defendant entering the building. He is later seen leaving through a door on the basement floor.

An MPD detective testified that bloody footprints were found at the crime scene. 

The detective said that, while exercising a search warrant, they recovered shoes that appeared to have a blood stain on it and looked consistent with the shoes seen being worn by the man in the surveillance footage. A DNA analysis of the blood was found to be a strong match for the Banks, he said.

During cross-examination, the detective confirmed to defense attorney Joseph Wong that there are no known eye-witnesses to the homicide. 

Wong argued that the prosecution is relying heavily on the surveillance footage, which does not appear to show any blood or weapons on the man believed to be Rhodes, even as he is seen leaving the building. 

However, Judge Milton Lee pointed out the timestamps on the surveillance footage as adding to the strength of the evidence.

After Judge Lee found probable cause, the prosecution asked him to keep the defendant held at DC Jail, citing his criminal history, which they said includes a manslaughter conviction. Wong requested his client’s release, noting that he successfully completed his recent period of probation. 

Judge Lee ultimately decided that Rhodes should remain held at DC Jail. 

Previously, the preliminary hearing was rescheduled multiple times because the defendant was not brought over from the jail. During an Oct. 5 hearing, the court was informed that he was in quarantine, D.C. Witness previously reported.