Murder Hearing Spans Multiple Days

In the third day of a multi-day hearing, a DC Superior Court judge found probable cause in a hearing that involved two defendants and two victims.

Michael Mason, 16, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder while armed in the death of 21-year-old Brea Moon in the death of 18-year-old Antwuan Roach

Mason is also charged with assault with intent to kill while armed and assault with intent to commit any other offenses while armed. He is being tried as an adult

On Oct. 5, DC Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman ruled that Mason’s murder charge for Roach’s death has enough evidence to go to trial. 

The Oct. 6 proceedings focused on the murder charge in Moon’s death. Dajuan Jones, 19, is also charged with first-degree murder while armed in her death. Moon was shot in the head on April 7 on the 3900 block of Alabama Avenue, SE. She died on the scene. Moon was not the intended target, according to court documents.

However, Judge Edelman did not make the probable cause ruling for the defendants until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Judge Edelman decided to hold Mason at the DC Jail in light of the nature of the cases. However, Jones’ detention is not clear because he is implicated in an assault with the intent to kill case that is currently undergoing proceedings.

Judge Edelman said he would make his ruling on Jones’ detention after the other case concludes, which the judge is also presiding over.

Roach was shot to death on May 22 in an alley behind the 3800 block East Capitol Street, NE, according to court documents.

Court documents also state that Roach had been involved with several incidents targeting members of the gang Mason is known to be affiliated. According to court documents, Mason told the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers he did not get along with Roach when the two of them were in juvenile detention together. 

A MPD detective testified that Mason engaged in an Instagram direct message conversation with an undisclosed person immediately prior to the shooting. This conversation detailed how Roach was identified as a target on the Metro. 

According to court documents and witness testimony, Mason is alleged to have said on an Instagram Live broadcast after the murder, “I have seen a roach and I stepped on it.”

The detective also testified that a witness informed the MPD that the Instagram account belonging to Mason was reacting to posts about Roach’s murder. 

According to court documents, further investigation into the Instagram account revealed Mason was trying to trade his handgun for another firearm shortly after the shooting. 

While the defense questioned how MPD connected the Instagram account to Mason, Judge Edleman agreed with the prosecution that there was sufficient evidence to connect the account and its activities to Mason. 

On Oct. 6, the prosecution called another MPD detective to testify about the investigation into Moon’s death. 

The detective was able to positively identify Mason who was present in the courtroom. Jones was appearing through Webex so there was not an opportunity to identify him in court. However, the detective did verify both Mason and Jones’ images through several Instagram photos. 

Prescott Loveland and Andrew Ain, defense attorneys for Jones and Mason, questioned the inconsistencies within witness statements that implicated their clients.

Loveland said two witness statements were factually inconsistent with one another and the MPD had even confronted one of those witnesses for making a false statement. 

But, the detective was unable to offer clarification on the inconsistencies. She said she could only refer to what was stated in court documents. 

In March, Jones was found not guilty by a jury in the murder of 26-year-old Cheyenne Washington.

Another hearing on the case is scheduled for Dec. 10.

Maria Marzullo wrote this article