Judge Holds Five, Releases 18 During Initial Hearings

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During initial hearings on Oct. 21, a DC Superior Court judge released 18 defendants and held five at DC Jail.

Dale Benjamin, 33, is charged with second-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting Claudette Williams, Marquise Lewis and Juwan Wade on the 300 block of 50th Street, SE on July 7. All three victims were pronounced dead on the scene. 

Benjamin’s attorney, Ronald Resetarits, argued against probable cause. He said the two witnesses who identified the suspect are unreliable and there is nothing else that places Benjamin at the scene. 

Judge Sean Staples found probable cause. He cited the two witnesses and surveillance footage that shows two suspects shooting the three victims. 

Judge Staples held the defendant due to the nature and circumstance of the event. 

A domestic violence defendant was also held by Judge Staples.

The defendant allegedly assaulted six police officers. At her hearing, she appeared to think she was an undercover federal agent. Judge Staples held the defendant for a forensic examination and scheduled a mental health hearing. 

Judge Staples held three defendants who were all charged with being fugitives from justice in Virginia and Maryland.

Rondez Tibbs is charged with being a fugitive from justice in the state of Virginia. The underlying charge in his Virginia case is kidnapping. 

Judge Staples held Tibbs due to the serious nature of the offense.

Matthew Douglas is charged with being a fugitive from justice in the state of Maryland. The underlying charge is aggravated assault. 

Douglas’s attorney, April Downs, asked for Douglas to be released to turn himself in to Maryland authorities. Judge Staples held the defendant, saying, “He was on release, now he has another matter so I’m not releasing him.”

Darius Taylor is also charged with being a fugitive from justice in the state of Maryland. His underlying charge is armed robbery; he also has a separate warrant from Montgomery County, Md. for theft. 

All three defendants decided to waive their extradition hearings, giving the demanding jurisdictions three business days to pick them up. 

Of those released, four defendants were fugitives from justice. 

They were all released to turn themselves in to the demanding jurisdictions of Virginia and Maryland. Two defendants are wanted in Virginia for larceny, one defendant is wanted in Maryland for assault and the last defendant is wanted in Virginia for a probation violation. 

A defendant charged with fleeing from a law enforcement officer and assault with a dangerous weapon was also released. 

The prosecutor asked for a hold due to the seriousness of the charges. However Judge Staples released the defendant, saying, “she’s been reporting to her parole officer… since she was honest and doesn’t have any similar cases of this type, I’m going to release her.”

Three defendants brought in on bench warrants were released. 

One failed to appear at a hearing with the underlying charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The second defendant also failed to appear at a hearing with underlying charges of attempted threats to do bodily harm, simple assault and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon in a domestic violence case. The third defendant failed to appear and also had a new case with misdemeanor charges.

One defendant charged with threatening to kidnap or injure a person was released with a stay away order from the victim.

A domestic violence defendant charged with second-degree cruelty to children, possession of a prohibited weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon was released with a stay-away order. The defendant was charged with assault for allegedly having a hit and run with the victim. The victim followed the defendant home, then the defendant shot at the victim’s car. 

Two defendants charged with unlawful entry were released by Judge Staples on their personal promise to return to court.

Two defendants charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and amphetamines were also released. 

A theft defendant’s case was dismissed. 

The rest of the defendants were charged with misdemeanors, including unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, fleeing law enforcement, lewd, indecent or obscene acts and theft. They were all released. 

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