Judge Postpones Murder Defendant’s Release from Psych Hospital

On June 18, a DC Superior Court judge postponed the Department of Behavioral Health’s request to release a defendant from DC’s psychiatric institution until he is deemed competent.

Bratrell Hawkins, 27, is charged with second-degree murder with a firearm in the shooting death of Xavier Tate, which occurred on the 1400 block of 3rd Street, SW on Jan. 5. 

Hawkins was deemed competent to stand trial on March 9. However, his defense attorney, James King, said Hawkins should remain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for further evaluation.

King’s motion was granted by DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz.

The Department of Behavioral Health also motioned for Hawkins’ release from St. Elizabeth’s in early May, but Judge Kravitz denied the motion.

Hawkins’ competency will be examined again through a series of interviews that will conclude on July 6. Judge Kravitz said that it would be beneficial to keep Hawkins in St. Elizabeth’s in order to examine whether his competency faces any challenges.

Hawkins is scheduled for another hearing on July 10 to discuss the status of his competency.