Judge Frederick Sullivan found probable cause today in the case against Ellsworth Colbert, a 56-year-old Southeast DC man suspected of fatally stabbing his 37-year-old neighbor earlier this month.
Sullivan also ruled that Colbert should be held while the grand jury investigates the case.
“We’re talking about murder here,” he said. “We’re talking about someone dead.”
Detective Kenniss Weeks testified at the hearing Thursday, saying that according to MPD’s investigation Robert Wright was walking a pitbull named “Macho” the morning of March 4 and walked past Colbert’s house. The dog did not defecate on, urinate on, or otherwise soil Colbert’s property, Weeks said, but may have walked or stepped on it. Initial reports indicated that Colbert became enraged about dog “mess” in his yard.
Weeks said that according to witnesses, Colbert, brandishing a walking stick and a knife, began arguing with Wright and punched Wright in the back of his head. Wright grabbed a shovel and used it to strike Colbert. The two continued to fight, then separated and Wright fell to the ground. An initial autopsy showed that Wright had been stabbed several times, including once in the right side of his chest, perforating his aorta.
Weeks said Colbert made three statements to police:
“I’m the one you’re looking for; I did it.”
“Here I am.”
“The mother f*** that tried to stab Damon tried to hit me with a shovel. I f*** his a** up.”
Weeks said Colbert’s son’s name is Damon, but that she had no knowledge of any altercations between Colbert’s son and Wright.
James Beane, Colbert’s attorney, submitted to the court on probable cause, but argued that Colbert is in poor health and his condition would deteriorate at DC Jail. Beane said Colbert is diabetic and has lung problems. Sullivan said he agreed with Beane that Colbert’s health would worsen, but said that the crime was “a very bad event” and that detainment was warranted.
A status hearing is scheduled for July 12.