Judge Ronna Beck found substantial probability in the murder case against Dwayne Hilton Friday in a hearing that hinged on identifying him from surveillance video.
Prosecutors say Hilton was one of two men who shot 18-year-old Mico Briscoe , killing him outside a Circle 7 Express store at the 1200 block of Mt. Olivet Road Northeast in Nov. 2011. The shooting also injured four other men.
It wasn’t eyewitnesses, though, but neighborhood police officers that provided the key identification of Hilton in charging documents.
Homicide detectives separately asked the two officers, who didn’t work on the case, if they recognized the men in the video, Detective James Wilson testified Friday.
The officers, who had both worked in the same E Street neighborhood for seven to eight years, told investigators they recognized one suspect instantly – even though they couldn’t make out his face.
Both had worked with neighborhood football programs and said they had directly worked with Hilton when he played the sport in high school and middle school.
One officer had recently seen Hilton playing basketball, and observed that he was left-handed – similar to the man in the video, who carried what appeared to be a firearm in his left hand.
But it was the football memories, though, that stuck with the officers.
Hilton “has a unique gait,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Fulton said.
The officers recognized Hilton’s “bow-legged” running instantly, Wilson said, along with his long dreadlocks.
Hilton’s attorney, Anthony Matthews, argued that that explanation strained credibility.
More likely, Matthews said, the officers thought, “I don’t know who that is, but he kind of runs like somebody I know.”
Judge Beck, though, thought differently.
“I don’t find that hard to believe at all,” Beck said, adding it would be harder to prove the case at trial.
Hilton is due to return to court June 14 at 10:30 a.m. for a status hearing.