Use of force was “excessive” in killing of Charles Hicks, Judge Leibovitz says

Finding “substantial probability” in a second-degree murder case against Terrance “Peanut” McNeal today, Judge Lynn Leibovitz said that even if McNeal was provoked and attacked by the man prosecutors say he killed, his use of force was “excessive.”

Prosecutors say that McNeal fatally stabbed Charles Hicks during an argument in Southeast DC on June 19.

According to charging documents, McNeal told witnesses that the night of the stabbing, Hicks knocked a drink out of McNeal’s hand, then attempted to search McNeal’s pockets.

Testifying at the preliminary hearing Thursday, Detective John Bolden said McNeal told detectives that Hicks had punched him in the face and “wouldn’t leave him alone.”

The altercation made McNeal “angry” and he stabbed Hicks four times,” Bolden said McNeal told detectives.

Neither the prosecution nor the defense has brought forward any witness who saw the altercation and stabbing.

McNeal’s attorney, Anthony Matthews, disagreed with Leibovitz’ ruling that McNeal responded to the provocation with excessive force.

Hicks was 200 pounds,” Matthews said, asking that instead of probable cause or substantial probability, that Leibovitz find the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Leibovitz instead found substantial probability, saying there was evidence that an even greater level of proof may have been met in the hearing.

A status hearing was set in the case for Nov. 18. McNeal will be held in custody at least until that hearing.

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