Judge William Jackson ruled Friday that there was enough evidence to try two men accused of engaging in urban warfare following the Caribbean Festival in Northwest DC in June.
Said AUSA Bruce Hegyi, in order to use the urban warfare legal theory, prosecutors must prove that
- the parties involved were armed and ready to fight when a crime took place,
- that they engaged in a gun battle,
- that they did not act in self-defense,
- that their conduct played a role in how the crime unfolded,
- and that it was reasonably foreseeable that the death of an innocent bystander could occur during the course of a fight.
Defense attorneys for the men disagreed.
“Mr. Bryant was taken completely by surprise,” said attorney Daniel Quillin. “He had the absolute right to return fire and defend himself.”
Added attorney Kevin Mosley, on behalf of Bush, “There is a clear indication they [Bush and Bryant] were retreating when they were shot at.
Prosecutors believe that Bryant and Bush exchanged gunfire with Terry Jimenez following the festival on June 25. Three people, including Jimenez, where injured in the exchange. Robert Foster Jr, described as an innocent bystander out to enjoy the festivities, was killed. Charging documents allege a gang beef that put Jimenez at odds with Bryant and Bush.
In finding substantial probability in the case Friday, Jackson said, it appeared Jimenez, Bryant and Bush were “all acting together… provoking a fight and provoking a gun battle.”
A preliminary hearing for Jimenez was begun last Friday and is due back in court Tuesday. The substantial probability ruling does not apply to his case.
Bryant and Bush were ordered held following Jackson’s ruling. They are due back in court Dec. 9.