The man accused of killing 17-year-old Ricardo Vondell Minger is being held without bail after a preliminary hearing on Feb. 1. A group of Kevin Lamont Clark’s family members looked on as Judge Russell Canan determined probable cause to hold Clark for first premeditated degree murder while armed Tuesday morning in a D.C. courtroom.
According to Metro Police Homicide Detective William Covington, witnesses in the southeast D.C. apartment familiar with the defendant were present at the time of the shooting.
They reported to police that on January 7, Clark and two other men (referred to in court as Suspects 1 and 2) entered the apartment. Clark crossed the room, looked out a sliding glass door, and pulled a revolver. He glanced back at Minger, seated on the couch, and Suspect 2 before opening fire on Minger, who took five bullets to his head and torso.
“There was something that happened between the decedent and suspect number two,” the detective said when asked about possible motives.
The defense noted that both witnesses changed their stories during the investigation, attempting to connect these changes of heart with promises of police assistance.
The prosecution, though, argued that the first witness’s romantic relationship with Suspect 2 led her to omit his participation in the shooting from earlier Grand Jury testimony.
The second witness originally claimed to have been in the bathroom during the shooting. Both witnesses initially said they “didn’t want to get anybody in trouble.” Asked why the witness lied, Detective Covington told the court, “[The witness] was in love” with Clark.
Many details are still being confirmed, including whether Clark was the only shooter or if he was joined by Suspect 2, and if so, who shot first. The prosecution argued, however, that witness testimony about Clark’s actions never wavered.
The defense asked that Clark be released to a halfway house, but Judge Canan ordered him held without bond based on the seriousness of the charges. He also noted Clark’s history of convictions and a reported loss of contact with his parole officer since July 2009.
Charging documents are available here.
Mia Bonarski has served as an advocate for substance abuse issues, a copy-editor for a post-conflict research office, a public opinion researcher in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a polling center representative for south Sudan. She has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Public Policy.