As detectives tell it, when then-19-year-old Rashid Caviness-Bey was waiting for police to interview him about the shooting death of Osman Al-Akbar, a shooting detectives believed he was involved in, Caviness-Bey yelled out to a teen one room over.
“Cop to that junt,” Caviness-Bey yelled out to the 15-year-old, encouraging the younger suspect to take the full weight of the murder.
On Tuesday, nearly a year and ten months later, Cavines-Bey stood trial, charged with felony murder for Al-Akbar’s death. His attorney, Mani Golzari pinned blame on that 15-year-old and said Caviness-Bey, now 20, is innocent.
“Mr. Caviness-Bey had nothing to do with this crime,” Golzari said. “With the evidence in this case you are going to learn that [DH] committed this murder. Mr. Caviness-Bey was stopped a couple blocks away just minutes after the shooting. No blood, no gunpowder was found on his person.”
Though the name of a teen arrested in connection with the case was used in open court Tuesday, Homicide Watch DC is not publishing the teen’s name because it was not immediately clear what the status of his case is. Reporters were not allowed in the courtroom to report on his hearing in August 2011.
In February 2012 that same teen told the government that he, and not Caviness-Bey, shot and killed Al-Akbar.
According to police reports, Al-Akbar was 19 years old when he was found dead in Columbia Height’s near Girard Park. He had been shot four times, three times in the back and once in the face.
Shots were heard around 1 a.m., and three assailants were seen standing over Al-Akbar’s body in the street. One of the assailants shot Al-Akbar in the face, before running away with the rest.
On Tuesday, US Attorney Shana Fulton showed pictures of Al-Akbar’s cell phone and two of his silver rings which were found near his body, evidence that Al-Akbar had been the subject of a robbery attempt. Caviness-Bey was part of that plot, she said.
“He was part of the whole thing,” Fulton said. “He was involved, he participated, he aided and abated the attempted robbery, and the shooting.”
In a tearful testimony Tuesday, Tion Shafer, Al-Akbar’s girlfriend, said that Al-Akbar was on the phone with her moments before he was murdered, talking to her about shopping for clothes online.
He was riding his bike to a gas station after trying to meet up with her when he was shot.
“I heard wind,” Shafer said. “I kept calling his name, and he didn’t say anything. Then the call dropped.”
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
May 29, 2013: This article has been corrected to reflect that Mr. Mani Golzari said the defendant was stopped after the shooting. An additional statement attributed to Golzari, about a juvenile suspect, was misquoted and has been removed.