“I don’t have probable cause that links Mr. Quick to the shooting of Mr. Ledbetter,” Ryan said, following a hearing of the evidence Tuesday.
Though Quick is free to return home, prosecutors plan to continue investigating the case, and they said they expect a grand jury to indict Quick in connection with Ledbetter’s death before October 25.
Ledbetter was found Aug. 2 lying in the street near the intersection of 18th and Q Street Southeast suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. He later died at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Quick was arrested about eight hours later on suspicion of first-degree murder while armed.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chanel Howard testified at the preliminary hearing Tuesday that Ledbetter and Quick were both drug dealers who sold crack cocaine in the same area of Southeast D.C. Howard also said that Quick was dating Ledbetter’s stepdaughter, and that witnesses say Quick and Ledbetter had had verbal altercations about the relationship.
According to Howard, police believe Ledbetter and another man had returned from a night at a strip club and parked Ledbetter’s vehicle at the intersection of 18th and Q, which is where Ledbetter was known to sell drugs. The man fell asleep in the vehicle and awoke after Ledbetter struck him and said, “watch out.” The witness heard a gunshot and then saw three black males wearing bandanas standing at the vehicle; one of the men was pointing a handgun, the man said.
The man told police he was robbed of a firearm and narcotics, and that the suspects took money from Ledbetter’s pockets.
The man later told police that Quick was the person pointing the handgun, and described him as heavy, about 5-feet-10-inches and bald with a pointy head. Judge Ryan said Tuesday that the description didn’t match Quick’s appearance in court.
“I’m very troubled by the identification,” Judge Ryan said. “I don’t see heavy; I don’t see bald; and I don’t see pointy head. It seems to me that it would be wrong to ignore that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Magdalena Acevedo argued that not only are most witness descriptions slightly inaccurate, but there is more evidence linking Quick to the murder.
“We have much more that those physical descriptions here,” Acevedo said.
Howard testified that upon Quick’s arrest police found the title and receipt to a scooter Ledbetter owned in Quick’s pockets. According to Howard, witnesses told police that Ledbetter carried around the title and receipt to prove to law enforcement that the scooter was a legitimate purchase if he was ever pulled over. Howard also said that when detectives searched Quick’s family home they found a plastic bag of .40 caliber ammunition hidden in the laundry room ceiling. A .40 caliber shell casing was also recovered from Ledbetter’s vehicle, Howard said.
Police also obtained surveillance video from a convenience store located four residential blocks from the crime scene. Howard said the video shows Quick standing in the vestibule looking up and down the street “as if he was waiting on someone.” The timestamp on the video shows that Quick was in the store from 5:18 to 5:26 a.m., Howard said. The first 911 call was placed at 5:29 a.m.
Ryan said he found the timing on the video troubling.
“The timing just doesn’t seem to work out to put Quick at the [murder] scene and at the convenient store at the same time,” he said.
Charging documents are below.