During a Jan. 23 preliminary hearing, the lead homicide detective of a homicide case (MPD) said there is no surveillance footage of the defendant with the 32-year-old victim on the night of his murder.
Even so, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan ultimately found probable cause in the case of the shooting that left Ali Jamil Al-Mahdi dead. The defendant, 27-year-old Deonte Eugene Patterson, is being held in connection to the incident which occurred on the 1800 block of 9th Street NW on Aug. 23, 2021.
On Monday, with the lead detective on the stand, the prosecution began by reviewing photographs and video footage from the night of the incident.
The timeline of that night, according to the detective’s testimony, began with the defendant and a witness entering Mirror Lounge, a club in Northwest DC.
Footage played by the prosecution showed Patterson entering the club without being checked at the door. Approximately 25 minutes later, footage from the doorway of Mirror Lounge showed Patterson and two witnesses leaving the club.
According to the lead detective, who examined these videos, there was no evidence of the victim in nor around Mirror Lounge. Additionally, there was no footage that shows Patterson with the victim.
Minutes after Patterson and the two witnesses left the club, the lead detective was able to identify a recording of shots around the time of the crime that he described as a “volley of fire.”
The detective testified that the MPD recovered three .45-caliber casings and five .40-caliber casings from the location of the shooting.
The detective then described the moments following the shooting, detailing a car accident that involved the defendant and the two witnesses. The detective stated that the accident occurred “moments right after” the shooting.
The accident, which caused Patterson to be ejected from the car “like a frisbee,” according to defense attorney Lisbeth Sapirstein, left him with numerous injuries.
There was uncertainty about whether or not Patterson had been driving, yet his DNA was not found on the driver’s seat nor the air bags.
However, Patterson’s DNA was found on the trigger and magazine of a Glock 40 semi compact automatic handgun that was recovered from the scene of the car accident. The detective noted that they also ran this gun through the a national ballistics network, which associated it with the shooting.
Finally, when asked about the efforts to arrest Patterson following these incidents, the detective confirmed that MPD had been searching for Patterson for the past year. The detective detailed press releases, social media posts, and news conferences relating to Patterson’s arrest warrant. He suggested that Patterson was aware of these efforts but didn’t turn himself in.
After reviewing the evidence and speaking with the detective, the prosecution argued that there was substantial probability in this case and asked that Patterson be detained.
Sapirstein mentioned an incident in 2019 where Al-Mahdi shot at Patterson. She argued that Patterson was acting in self-defense, noting the two different calibers of casings that were recovered from the crime scene.
Judge Raffinan ultimately found probable cause as to second-degree murder while armed and cited Patterson’s year of evading the MPD as reason to consider him a flight risk.
Towards the close of the hearing, Patterson addressed Judge Raffinan directly.
“I’m not a flight risk,” he told her, “and I’m not a danger to society.”
Judge Raffinan told him that although she would take into consideration what he said, it doesn’t change her mind.
Patterson’s family and friends who populated the audience grieved and consoled each other as he was led out of the courtroom.
The next hearing in this case is scheduled for March 23.Follow this case