Vernon Hendrick will remain held after a judge found probable cause Thursday that he committed first-degree murder.
At 6:09 p.m. on September 11, surveillance camera footage shows Hendrick, 26-year-old Titus Jackson and a third individual walking down the 5200 block of Clay Street Northeast, documents say. The sound of a gunshot can be heard in the video recording forty-five seconds after they walk out of the camera’s view.
When police arrived to the scene moments later, they found Jackson unconscious and unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the head.
“As it happens in so many moments, you have the deciding moment outside of camera range,” Judge Jennifer Anderson said at Hendrick’s preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Probable cause relies solely on an eyewitness who identified itself to police as the third man in the surveillance video.
When shown the video, the witness pointed to the person walking beside Jackson and told police, “That’s the one that shot Titus.”
But public defender Anthony Matthews questioned the credibility of this eyewitness, who initially provided a false description of the events.
“Under ideal circumstances, you have somebody saying somebody did something and this is who did it,” Matthews said.
The first time the witness was interviewed, it told police that the shooter had jumped out of an alley before shooting Jackson and running away. When police re-interviewed the witness, it told police that it “did not tell the complete truth” because it had never been a witness in a homicide investigation, according to court documents.
Matthews also argued that Hendrick wasn’t the only one that camera footage shows running away — surveillance footage shows the witness running back the way they came.
“He ran to [Jackson’s] mother to tell her that her son had just been shot,” Detective Chanel Howard told the court. Howard testified that Jackson’s mother confirmed it’s arrival shortly after.
“I find it persuasive that Witness One ran to [Jackson’s] mother,” Judge Anderson said in her ruling. “It’s harder for me to believe that he shot [Jackson] and then ran to tell his mother.”
Hendrick is scheduled to appear for a status conference before Judge Anderson on March 12 at 9:30 a.m.