Murder Defendant to Remain in Jail After Judge Finds Probable Cause

A murder defendant will remain held at DC Jail after a judge ruled that the case against him has enough evidence to go to trial.

Darrell Moore, 44,  is accused of shooting 37-year-old Julius Hayes to death on the afternoon of April 3, 2020, in a residential area of Northeast, DC. Hayes was shot six times on the 300 block of 18th Street, NE, and pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The preliminary hearing for this case began on Jan. 18. At that time, the lead detective took the stand to discuss evidence uncovered throughout the investigation. Parties reconvened on Feb. 15 to finish the proceedings so DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee could decide if the case has probable cause.

A key issue discussed during the proceedings was a government witness placing Moore at the crime scene. The witness also has unrelated charges pending against them, as defense attorney Kevin Irving brought up. The witness allegedly said, “I can be whatever you want me to be” in an interview.

Irving argued this makes the witness unreliable, while also questioning testimony from other witnesses.  He continued to question different aspects of the investigation when he resumed the cross-examination he began in January.

The detective said a witness identified Moore’s gun as a colt python, but Irving said they had never had a civilian witness call a gun by the official name. Irving also questioned if the detective was experiencing confirmation bias from believing the witness. He noted that only this witness identified the vehicle used in the shooting as a Ford Fusion. They also described the shooter to be a 5’10″ man, while Moore is 5’2”. 

Irving alleged that the detective “cherry-pick[ed] the rumors that they liked” and that the prosecutor’s other evidence is only circumstantial when he argued against a finding of probable cause.

However, the prosecutor indicated that what Irving brought up was not their only evidence during his re-direct examination of the defendant. 

A surveillance video from the lot where the shooting happened shows a man alleged to be Moore arguing with Hayes. The victim then turns a corner and the man alleged to be Moore follows. After gunfire breaks out, he stops at the car, pauses, turns back towards the corner and shoots once more. After this, he jumps in a black four-door vehicle and drives away. 

The prosecutor said the vehicle was unique in that the license plate was in the passenger side window. During the investigation, it was found that Moore’s car, a black four-doored vehicle, had a license plate on the same passenger side window. A different witness said Moore was the only one to use the car.  

Judge Lee decided that the case has enough evidence to go to trial and found probable cause. Irving requested his client’s release, but Judge Lee quickly shot that down, saying Moore was already convicted of a murder in 1994. Moore was released from prison in August 2020. 

There will be a new hearing set on June 3, by which time the prosecutor hopes to indict the case.