Judge Finds Probable Cause for Second-Degree Murder Case.

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

Rasheed Young is charged with second-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 39-year-old Ronald William Richardson, Jr on May 20, 2018. Young, 43, was arrested in December 2020. 

On the day of the homicide, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers were canvassing an apartment building on the 2300 block of 4th Street, NE as part of their search for a missing person. The officers noticed a bullet hole in the door of an apartment and entered the apartment. Inside, they found Richardson laying on the living room floor, unconscious and suffering from gunshot wounds to the head. 

During the April 15 hearing, an MPD detective on the case testified that Richardson was holding a knife in his left hand and there were shell casings in the living room area near his body. 

During an interview with the MPD in 2020,  the defendant said he did not know Richardson and was not present during the shooting. In that same interview, Young later confessed that he had a physical altercation with Richardson and shot him. 

Young said that Richardson and a masked person, who has not been identified, came into the apartment and tried to rob him.

He said Richardson pulled a knife on him and then the two got into a physical altercation, during which Richardson’s gun fell and Young grabbed it. He said that he fired a shot towards the door, hoping to get Richardson off him, but when Richardson continued to wrestle with him, Young shot over his shoulder towards Richardson. 

The detective testified that Young never brought up self-defense in the interview until the detectives mentioned it first. 

According to the autopsy report, Richardson had two gunshot wounds in the head. The first wound was to the side of the face which, the examiner described as happening from a close range. The second shot was on the top of Richardson’s head but did not appear to happen in close proximity. 

The prosecution said that Young would have to be above Richardson in order to shoot at the top of his head and argued that the shot was not necessary. 

Defense attorney Bernadette Armand argued that Richardson had a violent past, including stabbing and shooting other people only a few weeks before the homicide. She also said he had past charges that include assault, robbery while armed, and carrying a dangerous weapon. 

Armand pointed out that Young had spoken with someone shortly after the shooting occurred. Young told this person that Richardson tried to rob him and attacked him with a knife, therefore, he shot Richardson. Armand argued that this was Young’s effort to suggest self-defense which goes against the belief that self-defense only came up after detectives brought it up in the 2020 interview. 

She argued that the prosecution has not produced enough evidence to overcome self-defense. The prosecution also could not argue that it was not necessary for Young to shoot the second shot, the one on the top of Richardson’s head, because Richardson was trying to attack Young with a knife, she argued.

Armand also pointed out that Young is physically disabled after suffering from a stroke in 2018 prior to the shooting. She said Young was not in a position to fight back someone who was attacking him with a knife, so shooting Richardson was necessary for Young to protect himself. 

Judge Marisa Demeo found probable cause for second-degree murder while armed and agreed with the prosecution’s argument that, in order for Young to shoot Richardson on top of the head, Young had to be above him, thus, shooting him for a second time was not necessary. Additionally, Young did not suffer from any injuries except for a bite to the neck that did not penetrate his skin. 

Armand asked for Young to be released, possibly into home confinement, but Judge Demeo sided with the prosecution’s request for Young to be held, considering his violent past including charges he has been convicted for.

Young is also charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 26-year-old Cedric Rogers, on June 11, 1996. Rogers was found suffering from gunshot wounds on a basketball court on the 300 block of Franklin Street, NE.

That homicide case is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 21. 

A status hearing in this case is scheduled for July 7.