Judge Finds Probable Cause in Murder Case

“Just because something is a possibility doesn’t mean it’s probable,” a defense attorney told a judge during a murder hearing on Oct. 21.

Jaamil Hipps, 43, is charged with second-degree murder while armed in the death of Sa’id Grey. According to court documents, Grey was 40 years old when he sustained multiple stab wounds on Aug. 12 on the 1300 block Missouri Avenue, NW.

Hipps defense attorney, Lenshaah Murphy, argued that a combination of witness statements and testimony given by a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detective was not enough to meet the standard of probable cause. 

Despite the defense attorney’s appeal, DC Superior Court Judge Danya Dayson decided that the murder case has enough evidence to go to trial.

“With respect to probable cause, this is a circumstantial case, so I am looking at the vitality of this case,” the judge said.

All parties acknowledged that the evidence in this case is largely circumstantial. However, the prosecution added there was video surveillance of Hipps leaving the building just after the murder. The prosecution also argued that the video shows the defendant removing his shirt after leaving the scene. 

Judge Dayson said this act was the piece of evidence that persuaded her to find probable cause.  She said the act of removing his shirt suggested some level of guilt because by doing so, he attempted to change his appearance. 

However, Judge Dayson noted the prosecution’s argument regarding motive is not very compelling.

The prosecution alleges that Hipps and Grey argued over Hipps’ recent assault conviction. However, Murphy pointed out that this argument is based on at least two levels of hearsay and has no factual basis. 

A substantial portion of the hearing centered around determining where two witnesses were just after Grey was stabbed.

One witness said she heard three cries for help before exiting her apartment. A MPD detective also said the witness ran to alert the apartment manager just as a second witness was coming down the stairs to do laundry. Neither witness said they saw each other or anyone else. 

Judge Dayson also ruled to keep Hipps at the DC Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 25. 

Maria Marzullo wrote this article