Dennis Washington Held in Beating Death of Thomas Lipscomb

Dennis Washington was ordered held today after Judge William Jackson found probable cause in the case against him. Washington is accused of beating Thomas Lipscomb to death in April 2011.

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Jenifer Wicks argued that there was no clear determination of when Washington assaulted Lipscomb nor if the assault was related to his death. She further argued that the witness statements made by Christopher Fletcher were “self-serving.”

Fetcher, who was shot and killed in May 2011 during an unrelated incident, originally told detectives that he had accompanied Washington to Lipscomb’s apartment to collect a debt owed to Washington. But after Washington began assaulting Lipscomb, Fletcher walked away. Fletcher later saw Washington crossing Minnesota Avenue carrying Lipscomb’s television, according to charging documents in the case.

Detective King Watts of the Metropolitan Homicide Branch testified Tuesday that Fletcher’s story changed several times over the course of the investigation, and that Fletcher admitted to assaulting Lipscomb first, before Washington.

Watts further testified that the medical examiner in the case could not pinpoint exactly when Lipscomb died.

“Even if what Fletcher said is true, we don’t know that that was the assault that led to Lipscomb’s death,” said Wicks.

According to charging documents, one witness last saw Lipscomb alive a week prior to the day police found his body, and on that night heard what sounded like a fight inside Lipscomb’s apartment. Another witness reported hearing multiple people beating someone inside Lipscomb’s apartment sometime in the month before police discovered his body.

Lipscomb was found dead April 26, 2011, lying on the floor of his apartment in full rigor mortis—a stiffening of the corpse that occurs about 12 hours from death—and partially decomposed.

Judge Jackson argued that there was sufficient evidence showing probable cause in the case, citing the fact that detectives recovered a television from Washington’s home, which Washington originally claimed he purchased from Best Buy. However, the receipt Washington gave detectives to show proof of purchase did not match the television in his residence.

Additionally, Lipscomb’s fingerprint was recovered from the bottom right side of the television set.

A partial cigarette was also recovered from Lipscomb’s blood-smeared kitchen floor. A DNA analysis later determined that Washington was the source of the DNA.

Washington is scheduled for a felony status hearing in April 2013. He is currently serving a sentence for violating parole following a September 2011 conviction on charges of misdemeanor domestic violence.

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