Judge Russell Canan found probable cause Friday that Darryl Matthews stabbed and killed 60-year-old Hayes Osei Dennis outside the Gold Star Garage on Q Street Southwest last year. Matthews is being held at a halfway house and will be required to wear GPS monitoring.
Canan ruled that placement in a halfway house is “more appropriate” at this time because there are “a lot of question marks” in the case, but Matthews’ detention status could change at a future date, Canan said.
Matthews, 30, was arrested last month on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Worm said Friday that the government expects Matthews to be indicted on a charge of felony murder later this year.
Before the preliminary hearing Friday, prosecutors extended a plea offer to Matthews that required him to plead guilty to second-degree murder. In return, the government would cap sentencing at 18 years in prison, Worm said. Matthews rejected the offer.
If the case against Matthews now goes to trial, it may very well become a battle between members of Matthews’ family.
Metropolitan Police Detective Joshua Branson testified Friday that two of Matthews’ relatives contacted police after seeing surveillance footage of the moments just before and after the stabbing air on local television. One of the relatives told police that he was told by other family members that Matthews “left the jacket and the knife on the scene.” Those details were never relayed to the media, Branson said.
But Geoffrey Ross, a staff investigator with the Public Defender Service, testified that three different family members place Matthews playing basketball at the Greenleaf Recreation Center on N Street Southwest between the hours of 7-9 p.m. on the night of the murder- July 19, 2012. The timestamp on the surveillance video indicates that Dennis was stabbed a couple minutes after 7 p.m.
The stabbing is believed to have been a robbery gone awry.
A witness to the stabbing told police that around 7 p.m. a man entered the garage, grabbed a drink of water, and then said, “Give me your money, or I’ll kill you.”
The man appeared to have a weapon underneath a jacket he was carrying, the witness said.
According to arrest documents, the man dropped his drink cup, and then left the garage after Dennis gave him some money. But as Dennis went to close the garage door, the man turned around and stabbed him.
Detective Branson testified that the day following Dennis’ death he saw Matthews in the 100 block of M Street Southwest just across the street from the MPD Homicide Branch. Branson identified himself and was in the process of alerting fellow officers that he had found Matthews, when Matthews ran away. Arrest documents say that Matthews’ appearance the day after the murder was consistent with the appearance of the suspect from the video.
Judge Canan said Friday that the flea from police made Matthews look “suspicious.”
The jacket recovered from the murder scene did not contain Matthews’ DNA, Branson testified; prosecutors are waiting for the results of a DNA test on the drink cup and knife left on scene.
A felony status conference has been scheduled for June 28.