Judge Holds 9 Out of 29 Defendants During Initial Hearings

On Aug. 20, DC Superior Court Judge James Crowell released 20 defendants and held nine defendants during their initial hearings. Eight of the defendants were held in DC Jail while one was held under the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ custody.

Judge Crowell held Jaamil Hipps, who was charged with second-degree murder, and set his next court date for Sept 14. The defense argued that there was no probable cause based on the circumstantial evidence Hipps was arrested under.

The prosecution argued that surveillance footage and the fact that Hipps was the only and last person to be seen at the location of the incident proved probable cause. 

Judge Crowell agreed and held Hipps. 

Michael Benbow was held on the charge of premeditated first-degree murder. Benbow is 17, but he is being charged as an adult.

Defense attorney Andrew Ain requested for Benbow’s release and asserted his constitutional right to a speedy trial. The prosecution requested Benbow be held, saying surveillance footage placed him in the area during the time of the murder. 

Judge Crowell found probable cause. He said there is a “substantial likelihood” Benbow poses a threat of danger. Benbow is detained pending trial. 

Stewart Brown, who was charged with burglary, was held with a competency test scheduled to take place due to mental health concerns. Judge Crowell found probable cause and held Brown, taking note of his concerns due to Brown’s extensive criminal history.

Rodney Patterson was held on charges of assault with intent to kill and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. 

Bernard Woods, who was charged with second degree burglary, was held after Judge Crowell stated he was inclined not to release him based on past criminal history. 

Tavon Winston was charged with being a fugitive from justice. He is wanted in Maryland for homicide.

Given the nature of the charge, Judge Crowell was not inclined to release him, so he waived his extradition hearing in DC in order for Maryland to pick Winston up within three business days.

Nathan Williams was charged with being a fugitive from justice, where he is wanted for kidnapping an adult for ransom in Virginia. He also waived his extradition hearing for authorities to pick him up from DC Jail.

John Matthews is charged with being a fugitive from justice. He is wanted in Maryland for burglary. Matthews is being held for three days in order for Maryland authorities to pick him up.

A final defendant was charged with being a fugitive from justice, where he is wanted for assault in a domestic violence case. He allegedly tried to run over his wife with a car. The defendant is also being held for three business days in order for South Carolina authorities to pick him up.

Three additional defendants were charged with being fugitives from justice. Two were released with orders to turn themselves in to Virginia authorities. The other defendant waived his hearing on Aug. 14 and had not been picked up by the demanding jurisdiction, so the prosecution dismissed the case.

Two defendants charged in domestic violence cases were released with stay-away orders from the alleged victims.

Five misdemeanor cases were presented before Judge Crowell involving charges of possession with intent to distribute cannabis, assault, attempted threats to do bodily harm, unlawful entry of private property, assault on a police officer, possession of an open container of alcohol and contempt. All were released with stay-away orders.

Three defendants, charged with carrying pistols without licenses, were released with either stay-away orders or orders not to possess any firearms.

Three defendants were brought in on warrants for failing to appear at their court hearings. They were released with new court dates.

Two defendants are still in the hospital, so their cases were moved to Aug. 21.

Finally, of those who were released, four did not have charges filed against them by the prosecution.