Suspect in Peace Corps Worker Homicide Denied Release, Waives Independent DNA Testing

Thank you for reading D.C. Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.

Donate Now

On March 28, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun found that a homicide defendant “knowingly and voluntarily” waived his right to independently test DNA evidence. 

Dearay Wilson, 28, is charged with first-degree murder while armed and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of 53-year-old Jeremy Black. The incident occurred on June 29, 2021, on the 1400 block of R Street, NW. 

Black, a former Peace Corps worker, was eulogized by the National Peace Corps Association as an individual whose life work was, “[p]romoting understanding between people” in challenging parts of the world.

“He played guitar and trumpet, was a triathlete and a skier; he took up karate with his two sons.” the statement continued.

According to prosecutors, Wilson was one of multiple individuals who exited a white Chevy SUV at the location and unleashed a “barrage of bullets,” which fatally injured Black. Wilson has been the only individual arrested and charged in connection to the incident. 

During the hearing, Thomas Healy, Wilson’s defense attorney, alerted the court he was waiving his right to independently test DNA evidence recovered from the crime scene. 

Prosecutors told the court that they had tested various items, including cartridge casings, disposable gloves, and a t-shirt with suspected blood on it, which closely matched Wilson as part of the mixture of individuals’ DNA or the sole match. 

Before the hearing concluded, Healy requested Judge Okun release Wilson, stating he has been detained for a while and has no significant criminal history. He pointed out the large community support, citing the more than ten individuals in attendance for the proceeding. 

However, the prosecution objected to the request, arguing he’s charged with the “most dangerous and highest charge possible in the District,” and adding that the other individuals responsible for the crime have yet to be apprehended. 

Judge Okun agreed with the prosecution, and stated that no condition or combination of conditions of release would guarantee the community’s safety. 

Parties are slated to return June 28. 

Follow this case