Probable Cause Ruling Continued in Homicide Case

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On Jan. 8, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun continued a probable cause ruling in a homicide case. 

Jahi Settles, 24, is charged with second-degree murder while armed for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Langston Sharps on July 3, 2023, on the 2800 block of Hartford Street, SE. 

The prosecution began by calling the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) lead detective on the case to testify.

The detective explained that in surveillance footage shown to the court, an individual identified as Settles is seen walking up to Sharps’ vehicle. According to the detective, Settles later explained to him that he had previously bought shoes from Sharps, and had not paid him.

The detective said Settles told him about their interaction outside of Sharps’ vehicle that day, saying that Sharps punched him and initiated a fight. However, the prosecution emphasized that Settles never provided information regarding Sharps’ possessing a weapon during the fight. 

According to the detective, Settles never admitted to shooting Sharps, and said that at the time of the shooting, Settles ran and hid behind nearby buildings. The detective explained that Settles insinuated the other individuals that were in the vehicle with Sharps at the time could have been responsible for the shooting.

The prosecution mentioned a witness who dropped Settles off to the crime scene that day and had previously dropped him off there as well. This witness said Settles had previously been to that area due to drug sales. However, the defense objected to the comment which was sustained by Judge Okun. 

The prosecution also mentioned a witness who has been allegedly receiving threatening messages from a third party, pointing out the danger she could be facing. The threats allegedly involved the witness’ being harmed or killed, and are paired with gun emojis. 

During cross-examination, Settles’ attorney, Roderick Thompson, also questioned the detective about the witnesses. According to the detective, none of the witnesses ever described Settles as saying anything threatening, or refer to a gun or weapon. However, the detective explained that a witness said that he heard an argument between Settles and Sharp over money.

According to the detective, through the surveillance footage, he was unable to determine which words were being said by whom. Thompson pointed out that this information was likely important to determine the level of the argument, and the instigator.

Thompson further pointed out that in the footage, Settles falls after being punched twice by Sharps, and then he is seen raising his arm. He also questioned the detective about observing a firearm in the surveillance footage. The detective explained that in the several times he viewed the footage, he agreed a firearm can’t be seen. 

Thompson further questioned the detective about the cartridges found on the scene, which the detective explained don’t point to Settles in any way in DNA results. 

Thompson then addressed the threats that the witness has allegedly received, saying that Settles was incarcerated at the time of these threats. He then questioned the detective about his knowledge of these texts. The detective explained that he knew about them through the witness, but never actually looked at the texts himself to confirm.

Due to scheduling, Judge Okun continued his ruling.

The parties are expected to reconvene Jan. 10. 

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