Prosecution and Defense Argue Over Professionalism in Court During Murder Case

During a felony status conference hearing on Feb. 7, the prosecution and defense argued over civility when the defense failed to provide a courtesy copy of their release plan to the prosecution.

William Ransford, 59, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly murdering Debra McManus, 39, on Oct. 23, 1993, in the area of 4th and Trenton Streets, SE. 

The defense came prepared to discuss the release of Ransford with three separate options the attorneys said would prove sufficient. 

The prosecution, however, did not receive the release plan because it was sent late on Feb. 6, and not easily accessible. 

The prosecution proceeded to make comments targeting the defense’s professionalism, saying that they have refused to provide her with a courtesy copy of some reports. The prosecutor elaborated by saying she requested contact information from the defense, which was never provided.

Defense attorney Molly Bunke proceeded to argue her position for Ransford being released by proposing three different release plans. 

Bunke argued that due to Ransford’s terminal illness and the fact that the case occurred 30 years ago, he was no longer a threat to the community.

The prosecution said that although Ransford has a terminal illness, he has been convicted of numerous other crimes since the murder in 1993, such as robbery, escape from an institution, and attempting to distribute a controlled substance. 

DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan denied Ransford’s release.

The parties continued to discuss a motion to dismiss the case due to a HIPAA violation that occurred when the prosecution shared medical information with other sources. 

The defense proceeded to give the prosecution a redacted copy of a medical document, which the prosecutor argued would not give her the ability to address how to move forward in the case with her supervisor. 

Judge Raffinan ruled that the prosecutor only be allowed to discuss the redacted version.

The parties are scheduled to return for a motion hearing on March 27.

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