Trial begins for murder suspect
Allegedly killed Westlake High School student in Oct. 2016
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.