Judge Grants Murder Defendant’s Motion for New Counsel

A DC Superior Court judge granted a murder defendant’s request for new counsel.

DeAndre Houston is charged with first-degree murder while armed for his alleged role in the shooting of 27-year-old Roderick Thomas on Oct. 11, 2018, on the 3200 block of 12th Street, SE.

The 20-year-old defendant is also charged with armed robbery, carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in the case.

“I’m persuaded that new counsel should be appointed for Mr. Houston because it appears to me that the working relationship between Mr. Houston and Mrs. Ballester, for whatever reason, seems to have deteriorated to a place where it’s really just not working,” Judge Neal Kravitz said during the June 1 hearing.

Houston filed the motion for new counsel on his own behalf back in April. This is the second time he has requested a new attorney in this case. Back in 2019, Judge Craig Iscoe appointed Betty Ballester to replace Pierce Suen, Houston’s first lawyer. 

“The both of us think it would be best if [Houston] were given a new attorney at this time,” Ballester said.

Judge Kravitz scheduled a status and ascertainment of counsel hearing for June 16.