Judge Finds Substantial Probability in Brutal Stabbing Case

During a preliminary hearing on July 8, DC Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz found substantial probability in a murder case based on the defendant’s identification from two witnesses.

Cana Browne, 25, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing 42-year-old Ebony Morgan on May 10 on the 100 block of P Street, NE. According to court documents, members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) found Morgan unconscious with a stab wound to her neck. Morgan succumbed to her injury five days later.

During the proceedings on July 8, defense attorney Amy Phillips questioned the credibility of the witnesses’ identifications and argued both witnesses had incentives to falsify their testimonies. According to Phillips, Morgan’s friend did not like Browne and told a version of events tailored to her own needs. She also had a history of lying to the police.

The second witness, Phillips argued, “is explicitly trying to get benefits with the police” concerning unrelated cases. According to court documents, the witness asked the detectives if he could “get a little something to keep everything clean” and for the detectives to “squash” his warrant.

MPD detectives recovered video footage of the incident, which showed an individual following Morgan and making a striking motion immediately before Morgan fell to the ground. Both individuals were off-camera during the event, but their shadows were visible in the video.

The detectives interviewed two witnesses who identified the individual in the video as Browne. The first witness, a friend of Morgan’s, told detectives she talked to the defendant about the stabbing, to which Browne laughed and said to the effect of “she kept playing with me so I stabbed her.”

The second witness identified Browne as “Smiley.”

The prosecutor responded by pointing out Morgan’s friend was familiar with both Browne and Morgan. Although the friend acknowledged she had conflict with Browne in the past, she told the police they had reconciled and had no reason to falsify her identification.

Additionally, the prosecutor argued if the second witness was trying to fabricate information to claim benefits for himself, he could have given the police more useful information than just an identification.

The prosecutor also said the defendant made multiple false statements to the police that indicate consciousness of guilt. According to the prosecutor, Browne told MPD officers she had never been to the crime scene before and she had never been associated with the nickname “Smiley.” Both statements were determined by the police to be false upon further investigation.

Judge Leibovitz agreed with the prosecutor that the witnesses who identified Browne in the video did not have any motive to mislead the police. The individual in the video was properly identified as the defendant, especially considering “literally no other person has been identified as another suspect in this case,” she said.

The prosecutor then asked Judge Leibovitz to maintain Browne’s detention at the DC Jail, pointing out the brutal nature of the stabbing, the defendant’s lack of remorse, and prior bench warrants for missing court appearances.

Although Phillips argued Browne didn’t have a history of violent behavior, Judge Leibovitz agreed with the prosecutor that the defendant should not be released.

Browne’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 8.