Judge Thomas Motley found probable cause for a charge of second-degree murder in a preliminary hearing today for Karl Pugh, who is being held for the Sept. 20 shooting death of Quentin Ragland in Southeast DC.
Pugh’s defense attorney, Liyah Brown, argued that Pugh was acting in “complete self-defense” at the time of the shooting. Brown said Pugh’s statements to police indicate that he and Ragland had struggled for control of the gun, and that it could have fired accidentally.
But in finding probable cause, Judge Thomas Motley said Pugh could not claim to be acting in self-defense if he had already wrested the gun away from Ragland. “Why would you shoot someone if you had got the gun from them?” he said.
According to charging documents, Pugh and Ragland were smoking PCP together at Ragland’s apartment at 800 Southern Avenue when the two got into a “tussle.” Ragland retrieved a revolver from inside his apartment and then returned to the hallway where the fight had begun. Pugh was able to get the gun from out of Ragland’s hands, “at which time [he] shot [Ragland],” according to the documents.
Pugh then fled the scene, tossing the revolver under a car parked outside and removing his jacket and dress shirt before being apprehended by police officers.
Other evidence raised during the hearing indicated that no witnesses had seen Pugh with a gun before he arrived at 800 Southern Avenue, and that Ragland kept several guns in his apartment.
Detective Charles Fultz of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Violent Crimes division also testified that Pugh was covered in blood when he was arrested, but that he did not observe any injuries on Pugh when he was taken to the police station after being treated at a hospital.
A status hearing for Pugh has been scheduled for Jan. 13, 2012.