Substantial Probability of Second Degree Murder in Fatal Howard University Homecoming Weekend Shooting

Judge Gerald Fisher today rejected James Sandidge‘s attorney’s claims of self-defense in a fatal shooting that left one man dead near Howard University during the school’s Homecoming Weekend.

Fisher instead found substantial probability in the second-degree murder case and ordered Sandidge held.

Sandidge is suspected in the shooting death of Keenan Jerel Lee on Oct. 22, 2011.

Charging documents allege that Lee was arguing with another man on Oct. 15 and punched him. The man stumbled and Lee punched him again, knocking him to the ground. Sandidge, standing behind the fallen man, raised a gun and fired at Lee who was struck twice by bullets.

Two eyewitnesses to the shooting described the shooter and one picked Sandidge out of a photo line-up, charging documents state.

That eyewitness told police that Lee told the man who was struck, “You talking like you got that joint.” The man replied, “We do we do.” Lee said “Watch this” and a short time later struck the man with his fist.

In making his finding of substantial probability, Fisher said although it may be possible for Sandidge to pursue a self-defense claim “later on down the road,” at this juncture the evidence is that Sandidge had the opportunity to not shoot Lee and could have simply left the area if he believed Lee were a danger. If Lee was a danger, Fisher said, it appears that he was not an immediate danger to Sandidge or his friends.

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