Judge William Jackson found probable cause today in the case against a DC man accused of beating Juan Paredes to death with a barbell in a busy Columbia Heights commercial area.
Jeffrey Mills was arrested Jan. 14, the same day of the fatal attack, on suspicion of assault with intent to kill. Paredes died on Jan. 15. On Wednesday prosecutors changed the charge from assault to first degree premeditated murder while armed.
At a preliminary hearing Friday, MPD Detective Dwayne Partman testified that two witnesses said they saw Mills “charge” at Paredes outside the Columbia Heights Tivoli Theater in the afternoon of Jan. 14. The witnesses said Mills struck Paredes multiple times with a pole, Partman said, adding that detectives determined that that pole was in fact a 6-foot 25 pound bar used for lifting weights.
Paredes was struck in the head and abdomen, with the wounds to his abdomen leading to his death, Partman said.
Mills’ attorney, Jia Cobb, argued that there was not enough evidence to find probable cause for a first-degree premeditated murder charge, but Jackson disagreed, saying that the decision to continue beating Paredes as he “lies helpless on the ground” showed premeditation.
Jackson ordered Mills held while a Grand Jury investigates the case.