Judge Maintains Probable Cause, Releases Defendant in Homicide Case

A DC Superior Court judge has maintained that probable cause was established in a homicide case, but he placed the defendant on supervised release. 

Quincy Johnson, 17, is charged with first-degree murder while armed for his alleged role in the shooting of 20-year-old Anthony Riley on the 100 block of Walnut Street, NW on July 17, 2020. 

Johnson is being charged as an adult. Since receiving his charges on Aug. 21, 2020, Johnson has been held at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). 

During the April 28 bond review hearing, defense attorney Roderick Thompson argued that the burden of proof for probable cause had not been met. 

“I’m asking the court respectfully to take a look at the evidence in the case,” Thompson said. “Since it was such a slim margin, I want them to focus on the lack of credibility of the lone eyewitness in this case.” 

Thompson also argued that even if Johnson purchased a firearm as a 17-year-old, it still “falls extremely short” of any indication that the purchase was part of a robbery plan. 

In response, the prosecution said there was a clear intent to rob the victim, as shown through a series of text messages made by Johnson. 

Judge Robert Okun held with the previous decision that probable cause had been established. 

“Even under the probable cause standard it’s relatively close, but from my perspective it’s over the line, and the government did provide sufficient evidence,” he said. 

On the topic of release, the defense argued that home confinement at his father and step mother’s home with an ankle monitor should be permitted. 

“Mr. Johnson will be held on what the court agrees is the slimmest of margins for another three years without the benefit of a trial,” Thompson said. 

The prosecution argued that Johnson has a clear motive to “intimidate his witness, or affect his testimony”. 

“The defendant would pose a danger to the community, and that risk is heightened if he’s placed on home leave,” prosecutor Edward O’Connell said. 

Judge Okun ruled that Johnson would be released with a GPS monitor under the condition that he can leave his home for in-person classes. 

“I agree with the government that the risk is heightened, but I do believe that he should be released to the high intensity supervision program,” Okun said. 

A date for Johnson’s next hearing has not been established. 

Brennan Fiske wrote this article.