Preliminary Hearing Rescheduled In Homicide Case Due to Possible Plea Negotiations

Parties held off on a hearing to determine if a 2021 homicide case has enough evidence to go to trial due to the defense wanting a plea offer.

Javon Duckwilder, 24,  is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Juwan Smith on Oct. 25, 2021. He was arrested that same day and has been held at DC Jail ever since.

The preliminary hearing for this case was supposed to take place on Feb 3. During that hearing, defense attorney Jesse Winograd said he wanted to postpone the proceedings so he could talk with the prosecutor about a possible plea offer.

There currently is nothing on the table, but Winograd said they are willing to accept a reasonable offer.  He also said since Duckwilder has been on and off quarantine at the DC Jail, there has not been enough time to substantially discuss all the evidence.  

This is the fourth time the preliminary hearing has been pushed off. DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee rescheduled it to Feb. 15.

According to court documents, a witness told investigators that Smith got into an argument with Duckwilder near a gas station on the 2800 block of  Alabama Avenue, SE. Duckwilder allegedly kept reaching into his pocket as if he was going to pull something out before the shots were fired, according to court documents. Within ten minutes of the homicide, officers stopped Duckwilder. They found a gun in his pocket that matched a shell collected nearby Smith’s body. Officers did not find a gun on Smith.