Parties Argue Two Motions After a Senior Officer and Former Detective Testify in a Homicide Case

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On Nov. 13, DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein addressed two motions submitted by counsel and continued his rulings in a homicide case after the lead detective and a senior officer testified.

Davonte Brothers, 29, is charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, among other charges, for his alleged involvement in the murder of 27-year-old Deron Leake on Oct. 17, 2019, on the 4200 block of 6th Street, SE. The incident also left one individual suffering from non-life threatening injuries. 

During the hearing, the parties discussed two motions. The first was to suppress a statement of identification from a witness. The second was a motion in which the defense had to prove the detectives had “reckless disregard of the truth” in the creation of the warrants in this case.

In regard to the motion to suppress a statement of identification, the prosecution called a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) senior officer to ask about the photo array he administered to a witness. The senior officer confirmed the prosecution’s argument that his role in the case was to administer a photo line up to the witness and that he was not involved in the further investigation of the case or knew who the suspect was.

Following the officer’s testimony, Brother’s defense attorney, Molly Bunke, called the lead detective from the case. She asked the former detective about his interview with a witness and the description of the shooter the witnesses gave. Bunke argued that the witness was told by a detective it would be “favorable to him if he knew information” because the witness had a pending charge at the time.

Due to the statements made by the detective, Bunke requested that photo identification be suppressed. She argued the witness had discrepancies in his different accounts of what the shooter’s height, facial hair, and appearance.

“Defense is asking you to speculate about their conversation in the car,” the prosecutor told Judge Epstein.

For the second motion, Brother’s defense attorney, Dominique Winters, argued “there is missing information here” in relation to the dates on the form that do not match when the arrays were supposedly shown to witnesses. 

Winters argued that the mother of Leake texted the detective that Brothers “may have” been the shooter, but that the detective said in the warrant she had identified Brothers as the shooter.

Winters said the statement shouldn’t be allowed because of the “reckless disregard of the truth”.

The prosecution responded by saying that the detective “testified he made a mistake” in the warrant and that there was no deception or intent to do so.

Due to time constraints, Judge Epstein was unable to rule on the motions. 

Judge Epstein is slated to give his ruling on the two motions on Nov 16.

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