Five days later, the body of Delano Wingfield was found in a backyard area of the same residence in the 1800 block of 8th Street, Northwest. Neal told police that Young admitted to killing Wingfield, then swung a knife at Neal when Neal reached for a phone.
On Friday, Metropolitan Police Detective Jeffrey Weber testified that a medical examiner in the case gave a “conservative estimate” that Young was struck 28 times, including several times after a plastic bag was tied over Young’s head.
In an interview with police, Neal said first said that he left Young’s body entirely naked except for the plastic bag to contain bleeding from Young’s head. Later, Neal said that he also left Young wearing a pair of socks, Weber said Friday.
According to Weber, Young was found in the attic of the house entirely nude except for the plastic bag. Police also found a D.C. identification card for Wingfield in the attic, Weber said.
Police found Wingfield on June 17 under a disturbed pile of dirt, covered by a pile of bricks and a rickshaw bicycle after a cadaver dog indicated the possibility of human remains in the area, Weber said. According to Weber, Wingfield was “entirely nude except for a pair of socks.”
The last known contact with Wingfield was on May 28, Weber said Friday. Wingfield’s grandmother filed a missing person’s report on June 3.
However, Weber said that on June 4, a witness in the case received a text message from Wingfield’s phone that said “something to the effect of, ‘I’m going to Europe.’”
Before Young’s death, Weber said there was “no evidence of prior animosity” between the two men, though a year ago, Young was arrested for assaulting Neal. According to Neal, Young came at him with a knife after “some small disagreement about living conditions,” Weber said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Fulton argued that there was probable cause “at this time for the death of Leon Young,” because Young’s “at least 26 wounds” negate any argument of self-defense for Neal.
Fulton also argued that the many inconsistencies in Neal’s story bolster the case for probable cause.
“The government doesn’t believe that Leon Young killed Delano Wingfield,” Fulton said, and it is “another inconsistency” in Neal’s story.
Defense attorney Katerina Semyonova argued that Neal had reason to fear Young, given that Young previously attacked him. Semyonova also cited numerous instances of the “body’s instinct to take over and just keep acting,” such as individuals who shoot their attacker more than one time, and argued that Neal continued to strike because of his fear.
Judge Johnson disagreed with Semyonova, saying that “hitting someone over the head with a blunt object is different” and noting that Young was hit directly in the face.
A felony status conference in the case is scheduled for December 12 at 10:30 a.m. before Judge Johnson.