Judge Schedules Preliminary Hearing, Holds Defendant

A DC Superior Court judge scheduled a preliminary hearing to determine if a homicide case has enough evidence to go to trial. The judge also ruled that, in the meantime, the defendant will remain held at St. Elizabeths Hospital. 

Bratrell Hawkins is charged with second-degree murder while armed in the fatal shooting of Xavier Tate on the 1400 block of 3rd Street, SW on Jan. 5. 

The defense attorneys asked Judge Neal Kravitz to release their client, pointing out Hawkins’ lack of criminal history and arguing that he is only being held on the low standard of probable cause.

However, Judge Kravitz said since the defense never requested a preliminary hearing, the prosecution never had a chance to submit evidence and an argument for a higher ruling. He said that the defense can argue for Hawkins’ release during the preliminary hearing, but that he will remain held until then.

The prosecution asked Judge Kravitz to transfer Hawkins to DC Jail since he has been deemed competent to stand trial. Defense attorney James King argued that he should stay at St. Elizabeths instead. 

Judge Kravitz ultimately decided that Hawkins will remain at St. Elizabeths in the interest of maintaining his status as competent to stand trial.