Judge Releases Murder Defendant on Home Confinement 

DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee released a co-defendant in a murder case after serving nearly five years in pretrial confinement.

Gabriel Brown 33, and Antonio Upshaw, 33, are charged with first-degree murder while armed, robbery while armed, armed carjacking, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unauthorized use of a vehicle in connection to the death of 24-year-old, Tyrone Johnson, at a liquor store called Lee’s Liquor located on the 2300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NE on March 10, 2017.

During the Oct. 14 hearing, Brown’s defense attorney Steven Kiersh waived his appearance, citing illness as the reason for the defendant’s absence in court. 

Antonio Upshaw’s defense attorney, Ronald Resetarits, on the other hand, requested his client be released after spending nearly five years in pretrial confinement.

According to court documents, five witnesses heard gunshots coming from an alley the night of the crime and saw a gray Infiniti sedan leaving the alley shortly after.

In the hearing on Friday, Resetarits argued that the prosecution lacks evidence to implicate his client, Upshaw, in the shooting. He cited previous rulings by DC Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff, who formerly presided over the case, in which she stated that probable cause had barely been established.

In response, the prosecution contended that they have produced additional evidence since the last hearing but failed to disclose any before the court.

Judge Lee echoed Judge Bartnoff’s sentiment, stating, “there is probable cause, but it is not compelling.”

Restetartis then asked that his client be released as he has been held in pretrial confinement for nearly five years and sufficient evidence has not been provided to substantiate this holding.

Judge Lee granted Upshaw’s release, placing him on home confinement. Upshaw is not legally permitted to leave his house unless he is attending court or there is an emergency.

Regarding Upshaw’s stint in pretrial confinement, Lee said, “that is not the norm,” saying the COVID pandemic has created a backlog that has left many suspects in his position.

Upshaw and other parties involved in the case are expected to return to court on Oct. 31.

Brown is still being held at the DC jail.

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