Relying on an eyewitness identification that Ray Dicks’ defense attorney characterized as problematic, Judge William Jackson found substantial probability today in the case accusing Dicks of fatally shooting Eric Kearney over a jailhouse rumor.
“It appears that this witness had a fairly good opportunity to observe [the shooting],” Jackson said in his finding.
According to charging documents in the case, the eyewitness who identified Dicks in the line-ups said they saw the shooter standing in the 1600 block of Lincoln Road NE at about 8:18 p.m. when Eric Kearney rode past on his bike. The shooter fired a shot at Kearney’s back, and Kearney jumped from the bike and ran with the shooter in pursuit. Three more shots were fired at Kearney’s back, the witness said.
Defense Attorney Rene Raymond did not take issue with the witness’s ability to observe, but rather that the witness participated in two different suspect identification procedures. In the first, the witness picked Dicks out of a photo array, saying that the photo looked similar to the person they had seen shoot at Kearney. Later, MPD conducted a line-up identification procedure with the same witness and included Dicks in that line-up. The witness picked Dicks out of the line-up.
Raymond said the identification does not amount to “real proof” because including the same man in two line-ups is “inherently suggestive” to the witness of whom they should select.
Jackson replied that conducting line-ups in such a fashion was once very common in DC courts. He appeared more concerned with a possible alibi that Dicks offered to detectives.
Detective Sean Caine, who testified in the case Wednesday, said Dicks told detectives that he was in class when Kearney was killed and attendance records indicate that he was signed in to Fortis College in Landover, Md. for a class from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. that night. According to evidence presented by the government Wednesday, a test related to a medical technician’s degree was administered in that class period. A test with Dicks’ name on it was presented to the court.
Prosecutor David Sayboldt suggested that it was possible that Dicks committed the murder at 8:18, walked five blocks to the New York Ave metro station, caught a train to Landover at 8:26, arrived in Landover at 9:08, walked two blocks to the school, and arrived in time to take the test which is typically administered around 9 p.m.
Jackson said the alibi, and information about it, deserved more thorough investigation and set a status hearing for Jan 27 to hear an update on the investigation into whether Dicks was in fact in class during Kearney’s shooting.
Because Jackson found substantial probability, Dicks will remain in jail until at least that court date.