Trial be­gins for mur­der sus­pect

Al­legedly killed West­lake High School stu­dent in Oct. 2016

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

A man charged with mur­der for shooting a West­lake High School stu­dent out­side St. Charles Towne Cen­ter is on trial this week in Charles County Cir­cuit Court.

Dea­van Quin­del Jef­fer­son, 20, of Bal­ti­more is charged with first-de­gree mur­der for the death of Reuel Hicks, 18, a se­nior at West­lake High School who was shot in the head after a drug deal — in­volv­ing $20 worth of mar­i­juana — went awry in Oc­to­ber 2016, court pro­ceed­ings showed. At­tor­neys were pre­par­ing to de­liver their open­ing state­ments as of press time Tues­day morn­ing.

Dur­ing a mo­tions hear­ing Mon­day af­ter­noon, as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­neys Jonathan Beat­tie and Con­stance Kopel­man

and pub­lic de­fender Matthew Con­nell dis­cussed in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by an in­mate at the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter who told a de­tec­tive ear­lier in the morn­ing in­ti­mate de­tails of how the shooting un­folded. The at­tor­neys lis­tened to a recorded in­ter­view with the in­mate and de­tec­tives, in which the in­mate said Jef­fer­son, armed with a gun, had in­tended to rob Hicks of the mar­i­juana and lured him to a se­cluded area out­side the mall, near the AMC movie theater, court pro­ceed­ings re­vealed. The in­mate’s state­ments are con­trary to at least one other wit­ness who said Hicks and two friends had in­tended to rob Jef­fer­son, in­for­ma­tion the de­fense had planned to use to ar­gue that Jef­fer­son had acted in im­per­fect self-de­fense when he shot Hicks. Con­nell con­ceded that be­cause of the level of force the act was likely crim­i­nal, but said Jef­fer­son was not guilty of first-de­gree mur­der, as charged. Rather, he was likely guilty of a lesser of­fense, he said.

Con­nell ar­gued against the in­mate’s state­ments com­ing into court. The last minute rev­e­la­tion, he said, did not al­low him enough time to pre­pare for a proper re­but­tal. Judge Erik Nyce said he was likely to re­serve judge­ment on the mat­ter, as the in­mate’s state­ments had not yet been thor­oughly re­viewed for cred­i­bil­ity.

Around 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2016, po­lice re­sponded to the 11000 block of Mall Cir­cle Drive for a re­ported shooting, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­ports. Upon ar­rival, Hicks was found suf­fer­ing from a gun­shot wound and was trans­ported to a hospi­tal where he died. Jef­fer­son was ap­pre­hended shortly after as of­fi­cers searched the area.

The trial is on­go­ing.

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