Funeral Director: The Funeral Process is a Waiting Game

Shaun Reid

At the age of 28, funeral home owner and director Shaun Reid has been in the funeral industry for over a decade. He has spent much of his life with the dead.

It’s not something the average person wakes up in the morning saying, ‘Oh, I want to be in the funeral world,’” Reid said. “No, it doesn’t operate like that. You got to have a love for it and have a craft for it.”

The funeral process is a waiting game, Reid said, especially with homicides.
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Man Killed in Tuesday Night NW D.C. Shooting

A shooting in the 900 block of Delafield Place Northwest killed Daniel Joseph Hinton Tuesday night, MPD announced.

Hinton, 21, was found unconscious and suffering from gunshot wounds just after 6 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A press release from MPD is below: Read more

Q&A: USAO’s Chief of Homicide

As part of our 2014 Year in Review, we’re speaking with those who shape the criminal justice system in the District. Jeffrey Ragsdale is the chief of the homicide section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He answered our questions below via email:

What were the most memorable homicide prosecutions of 2014?

All homicides are by definition very tragic and compelling. We do not treat or prosecute cases differently because of who the victim is.

There are some cases that were particularly compelling during 2014: Read more

Guest Column: Washington’s Other Monuments

I continue to document the shrines to those lost to homicide in our community. Although the number of street memorials I encountered were fewer in number than in many previous years — arguably a positive trend — there were still many lives lost and hearts broken by the continued violence in our community.
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Guest Column: I am Juror #1

Bill Schulz is a science journalist who has lived and worked in Washington, DC for more than 30 years.

Bill Schulz is a science journalist who has lived and worked in Washington, DC for more than 30 years.

When I stood to read aloud the verdicts in the first-degree murder trial of Demonta Chappell vs. U.S., I wasn’t sure if I should look at the judge, the defendant, or the prosecutors. So I made it a point to look at all the parties as the judge went one-by-one through each of the six counts, which also included weapons and obstruction of justice charges.

Some three weeks earlier, on Oct. 2, 2014, Judge Rhonda Winston had questioned me and 13 other potential jurors as she began the process for selecting the jury that would decide Mr. Chappell’s fate. She had a longer list of questions then, including whether I knew any of the parties to the case, had read about the murder, and could be impartial about all testimony, including that of police officers.
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Donald Dubose Pleads Guilty in Michael Smith Murder Case

Donald Dubose pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed Monday for his role in the 2012 drive-by shooting that killed 34-year-old Michael Oshea Smith.

Smith’s body was found in the passenger seat of a gray Mercedes Benz in the Barry Farms housing project shortly before 6:00 a.m. on May 12. Smith, shot twice in the head, was already dead when police arrived.
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We Remember: A Letter from Homicide Watch DC

For more than four years, the faces of those killed in the District have circled through the top of Homicide Watch DC. Children, teenagers, adults, the elderly. In photos they smile, or scowl. They’re pictured laughing, looking cool, or sometimes angry.

It can be too much to look at. To see who we’ve lost is to remember that each of them has family and friends, teachers, co-workers and neighbors. The community of people who’ve joined us here on Homicide Watch DC have opened their stories and the justice system for us in an incredible way.
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Week in Review

In brief:

No homicides were reported this week.

Attorneys gave their final arguments in the trial of Claire Rice, accused of killing her cousin, Anthony Garland Rice. Prosecutors portrayed the murder as a calculated and well-planned execution, carried out in order to cash in on two life insurance policies. Rice’s defense said she didn’t need the money and argued that Anthony Rice may have simply been killed in a robbery.

Jurors began deliberating in the trial of Andre Miles for the death of Sandy Green III. A key witness testified that she saw Miles shoot Green in broad daylight. Under cross-examination, she told a defense attorney: “I saw your client walk up and shoot Sandy.”

Prosecutors dropped all charges against Lennard Sweeney. He had been accused of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of 38-year-old Edward Eugene Hall, Jr. on September 9.

A judge found probable cause against John Dyson and Alisha King for second-degree murder charges in connection with Arthur Lee Gaither’s death. Dyson will be held at the D.C. jail until his arraignment. King, who has no prior criminal record, was released into high intensity supervision.

A judge found substantial probability that Dominique Holmes committed second-degree murder in the shooting death of Ricky Kelly in October.

A judge found probable cause that Jarod Yorkshire committed first-degree murder and obstruction of justice for his alleged role in the death of Derrick Ragland.

Demitrich Jones and William Smallwood pleaded innocent to five criminal charges including felony murder while armed for the shooting death of 33-year-old Rashard Raigns in June.

A judge sentenced Don Demichie Page, Jr. to 14 years in prison for the June 2013 shooting death of Quentin Lavar White. White’s widow told the court: “This wasn’t a stranger who shot him. He knew him and I feel like when he killed one person, he took three lives.”

Antonio Hester pleaded innocent to first-degree murder and two weapons charges in the shooting that killed Tracy McFadden on June 19, 2013.

William Jackson, 27, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder while armed for the shooting death of 22-year-old Delonte Hemphill. Jackson was released to a halfway house after being presented with a charge of second-degree murder for Hemphill’s death.

Jury Begins Deliberations in Claire Rice’s Murder Trial

In closing arguments Friday, prosecutors portrayed the murder of Anthony Garland Rice as a calculated and well-planned execution, carried out by his cousin, Claire Rice, in order to cash in on two life insurance policies.

Rice’s defense said she didn’t need the money and argued that Anthony Rice may have simply been killed in a robbery.

Looks are deceiving, because when you look at Claire Rice for the first time, you might not think about that gun she purchased right before the murder,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff told the jury.
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Documents Describe Brawl Before Delonte Hemphill’s Death

William Jackson, 27, was ordered released to a halfway house Friday after he was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder while armed for the July 13 shooting death of Delonte Hemphill.

While responding to reports of gunshots in the 3500 block of 6th Street Southeast, police found Hemphill, 22, on the front steps of an apartment building, lying on his right side, and suffering from a gunshot wound. Police discovered blood, a torn braided hair, a multi-colored umbrella, and a pair of glasses lying in the blood on the front stoop near Hemphill.

A witness told police it saw Jackson or “Chill Will,” arguing with a man known to belong to a crew named “Trenton Park,” according to court documents. The witness then saw another member of the crew join the argument, leading to a physical confrontation.
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