Judge Releases Assault Defendant After Substantial Probability Not Found

DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee released a defendant when the prosecutor failed to demonstrate substantial probability that he was the offender in a Nov. 29 hearing.

Cedric Brockington, 17, is charged with assault with intent to kill in connection with a Nov. 10 shooting on the 1200 block of 5th Street, NW, which wounded an unidentified juvenile male. He was charged on Nov. 17, and held in the DC Jail.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Lee ruled that although there was probable cause to believe that Brockington committed the assault, there was not a “substantial probability,” a higher degree of proof. Without substantial probability, he ruled, Brockington should be released from the DC Jail and placed on the High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP).

The prosecutor only presented one witness, a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer who responded to the scene. The officer reviewed body camera footage and surveillance footage, showing both the shooting and the officer’s interviews of witnesses on the scene.

A video captured by surveillance footage from a store on the corner of M Street and 5th Street, NW showed two men approach a crosswalk from opposite directions. As they passed one another, one of the men pulled a handgun from his waistband, prompting the other man and two other people nearby to run for cover. As the victim ran, the shooter fired four shots, one of which struck the victim in the left arm.

According to the body camera footage obtained from the responding officer, witnesses said the shooter was a Black male, around high school age. He could be seen running from the scene via other surveillance cameras.

Brockington’s mother and father both identified him as the person on the police’s “Be On the Lookout” poster, which used photos from the surveillance footage on the corner, according to court documents. Brockington’s high school also confirmed he had an unexpected absence on Nov. 10, the day of the shooting.

No footage presented during the hearing was entirely clear in identifying Brockington, and the in-court identification of Brockington by the witness was challenged but sustained.

In his finding of no substantial probability, Judge Lee denied the prosecutor’s request for detention. The prosecutor offered a plea deal, but Brockington denied it, choosing instead to go forward with a Grand Jury.

The parties are scheduled to reconvene on Feb. 15, 2023. 

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