Bernard Fleming | Homicide Watch DC news about Bernard Flemingen-usFri, 12 Sep 2014 18:38:54 -0400Fleming Sentenced to 35 years, Peoples to One Year, for the Shooting Death of Michael Jones<p>Before delivering their sentences, Judge Robert Morin said that on the night of <a href="">Michael Jones'</a> tragic death, evidence showed that <a href="">Bernard Fleming</a> "participated in a dangerous act," while <a href="">Joseph Peoples'</a> "most serious" crime was tampering with evidence.</p> <p>In July, Fleming was <a href="">convicted</a> of second-degree murder, along with six related charges, in connection with Jones' death. Peoples was acquitted of murder in the same trial, but convicted of carrying a pistol outside the home and tampering with evidence. <span id="more-24736"></span></p> <p>Police <a href="">found Jones</a> at approximately 10:38 p.m. with a gunshot wound to the head in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest on July 7, 2012.</p> <p>On Friday, Judge Morin sentenced Fleming to a total of 35 years in prison, including 20 years for the charge of second-degree murder in the case. Peoples was sentenced to 12 months in prison for each of his charges, though the <a href="">sentences will run concurrently</a>.</p> <p>Although a <a href="">federal judge recently declared</a> the city's ban on handguns outside the home to be unconstitutional, Judge Morin allowed charges of carrying a pistol outside of the home to stand. Currently, a 90-day <a href="">stay</a> has <a href="">halted any changes</a> to the current law.</p> <p><a href="">At trial</a>, prosecutors argued that the Jones brothers wanted to talk with Fleming and Peoples about a fight from earlier that day, but instead, Fleming and Peoples ambushed the men. </p> <p>Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy called the dispute between the Jones brothers and Fleming "petty" in court Friday and argued the dispute began and ended with Fleming.</p> <p>"Fleming followed Jones' brother Maurice to his home and told him 'we got that hot stuff for you,'" Rakoczy said. "Then he went to a balcony and fired from above."</p> <p>Fleming fired at least 11 rounds that night, Rakoczy said, adding, "It was amazing there wasn't more lives lost."</p> <p>Rakoczy also argued that Peoples was with Fleming the "whole way" and that he led the victims to the scene while knowing Fleming was armed on the balcony. Later, Peoples attempted to cover up the murder by hiding the weapons, Rakoczy said. </p> <p>Fleming's defense attorney Craig Moore argued that it was Michael Jones who fired the first shot.</p> <p>"The facts are it was an urban gun battle and Mr. Fleming wasn't the only one firing," Moore said. "It's a terrible waste of life, but no one knows who fired that fatal shot." </p> <p>Addressing the court, Fleming recognized Jones' death, but he insisted he was innocent. "I maintain my innocence, but I'm sorry for the family's loss," Fleming said. </p> <p>Peoples' defense attorney Jason Downs focused on his client's potential and support from the community before asking for a probationary sentence.</p> <p>"Mr. Peoples is a high school graduate and has the support of his family and community," Downs said. "That is exceptional considering his circumstances. It's a sign this young man has potential."</p> <p>Before his sentence, Peoples said, "I want to apologize to the Jones family."</p> <p>Outside of the court room, Peoples' mother, Angela Bryant, said she agreed with the sentence and she believed in her son the entire time. </p> <p>"I thought the outcome was great," Bryant said. "I knew my child was innocent."</p> <p>Prosecutors said the Jones' family asked them to speak on their behalf, since the case has been hard on them.</p> <p>"Michael Jones is no longer with us and his family will feel that for the rest of their lives," Rakoczy said.</p> <p><em>A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office is below:</em></p> <blockquote><p> District Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison<br /> For Shooting That Killed One Man, Wounded Another<br /> Defendant Opened Fire on Group of Young Men<br /> As They Walked Down Busy Public Street</p> <p> WASHINGTON – Bernard Fleming, 23, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for second-degree murder while armed and other charges involving a shooting on a busy public street that killed one man and wounded another, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.</p> <p> Fleming, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty by a jury in July 2014, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In addition to the murder charge, the jury found him guilty of two counts of assault with intent to kill and related weapons offenses. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert E. Morin.</p> <p> A co-defendant, Joseph Peoples, 23, also of Washington D.C., was sentenced today to a year in prison for a weapons offense and tampering with evidence in the case.</p> <p> According to the government’s evidence, Fleming shot the victims at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2012, in the 1700 block of Seventh Street NW. The gunfire killed Michael Jones, 30, and injured Mr. Jones’s brother.</p> <p> Earlier in the day, Fleming got into a physical altercation with Mr. Jones’s brother. Fleming, Peoples, and a third individual then followed Mr. Jones’s brother to his home, banged on the door, threatened him, and demanded that he come outside. They left after Mr. Jones’s brother did not come outside, but returned about 90 minutes later - this time standing outside a window, and at one point shining a laser inside. Concerned for his safety, Mr. Jones’s brother called a friend and Mr. Jones. Soon after that, Mr. Jones, his brother, and two friends set out to try to find Fleming and Peoples to settle the dispute. They encountered Peoples outside an apartment building in the 1700 block of Seventh Street NW, and the shooting followed.</p> <p> Peoples pulled out a gun. Fleming, who was standing on a balcony above Mr. Jones’s group, began shooting down on the victims. Ballistics evidence suggests that Fleming fired at least 11 shots at the group. Mr. Jones and his friend both took out guns and fired back in defense of themselves and the others in their group. Mr. Jones was struck in the back of the head and was killed almost immediately. Mr. Jones’s brother suffered graze wounds to his chest.</p> <p> After the shooting, Peoples ran back inside the apartment building, met up with Fleming, and stashed the guns underneath a stairwell; one of the weapons was partially dismantled.</p> <p> In addition to the sentences in this case, Fleming and Peoples also were sentenced today for their roles in a drug conspiracy that operated in the Shaw area during the summer of 2012.<br /> In that matter, Fleming was sentenced to three years and Peoples to 21 months in prison.</p> <p> In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the U.S. Secret Service. He acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin O. Lyons and Jennifer Kerkhoff; Paralegal Specialists Alesha Matthews Yette, Fern Rhedrick and Mia Beamon; Intelligence Analyst Zachary McMenamin; Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling; Victim/Witness Security Specialists Michael Hailey, M. Laverne Forrest and Debra Cannon, and Victim/Witness Advocate Tamara Ince. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Vinét Bryant and Kathryn Rakoczy, who prosecuted the case. </p></blockquote> Imari WilliamsFri, 12 Sep 2014 18:38:54 -0400 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesJurors Convict Bernard Fleming, Acquit Joseph Peoples on Murder Charge<p>After more than two days of deliberations, jurors found <a href="">Bernard Fleming</a> guilty of second-degree murder and <a href="">Joseph Peoples</a> innocent of the same charge in the shooting death of <a href="">Michael Jones.</a></p> <p>Jones was found shot on July 7, 2012, at approximately 10:38 pm in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest. At trial, Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Sunil Kumar testified that he was killed by a gunshot wound to the back of the head.</p> <p>The jury also found Fleming guilty of six related charges, including two counts of assault with intent to kill and carrying a pistol outside of the home. Peoples was cleared of five other charges, but he was found guilty of carrying a pistol outside the home and tampering with evidence. <span id="more-24131"></span></p> <p>Although both men were found guilty of carrying a pistol outside of the home, because <a href="">a federal judge recently declared the law unconstitutional</a> both defense teams introduced motions to dismiss those charges. Judge Robert Morin did not decide on the motions before the verdict was read. </p> <p>During trial, prosecutors argued that Fleming shot at Michael and Maurice Jones and two others from a balcony on the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest. The prosecution used video footage from the building, as well as witness testimony and ballistics evidence. </p> <p>Peoples' defense attorneys argued that Peoples did not fire a gun and cited a lack of shell casings found near where Peoples stood during the shooting. </p> <p>"Today's verdict was great," Michael Jones' aunt, Linda Mercer, said outside the courtroom. "To us, it's another person taken off the street who has no respect for another human's life." </p> <p>Mercer added that she expected the verdict of not guilty for Peoples, but said, "God takes care of all that."</p> <p>Fleming and Peoples are scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. Both will be held until sentencing. </p> Timothy RyanMon, 28 Jul 2014 14:22:42 -0400 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesJury Begins Deliberations in Bernard Fleming and Joseph Peoples case<p>During a six-day trial, prosecutors argued that <a href="">Bernard Fleming</a> and <a href="">Joseph Peoples</a> killed <a href="">Michael Jones</a> in an "ambush" that also wounded Jones' brother Maurice. But defense attorneys say there was no an ambush, and Fleming's attorney argued that there was no evidence to show a gun in Fleming's hand.</p> <p>Now it's up to jurors to decide which version to believe.</p> <p>Jones was killed two years ago on July 7, 2012, in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest. Fleming and Peoples are each charged with <a href="">second-degree murder while armed</a>, as well as tampering with physical evidence and eight related weapons charges in connection with his death. </p> <p><span id="more-24055"></span></p> <p>At trial, Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Sunil Kumar testified that the gunshot wound to the back of Jones' head was an entrance wound that could cause instant death.</p> <p>"The injury was a rapidly fatal injury," Kumar said. "He would have died in minutes." </p> <p>In her closing argument, Assistant US Attorney Vinet Bryant told jurors video footage that captured the "surprise" attack. </p> <p>That video shows Fleming running to a second floor balcony with a gun and Peoples running through an alley signaling to Fleming, "They are coming," as he retrieves a gun from a friend, Bryant said.</p> <p>Jones' brother Maurice Jones testified that he and his brother only went to talk to Fleming and Peoples that day and that they wanted to make peace after an earlier fight. </p> <p>Jones said he spotted a group of guys and yelled, “Hey,” and the group took off running. He then noticed Peoples coming down a staircase of a “high-rise” building and he tried to get his attention.</p> <p>“I said, 'Yo can I holler at you,'” Jones said. Peoples began to run from him, according to Jones.</p> <p>Jones said he pursued him trying to get his attention, so he could talk to him and he saw Peoples run across 7th Street to another guy.</p> <p>Jones told jurors that Peoples was facing the man with his back towards him, but it looked as if they were exchanging something. Jones said suddenly he heard shots and started to run, but dropped near a car.</p> <p>He saw his brother standing, and then watched as he fell to the ground, Jones said. He said when the police showed up he was “panicky” and “sad” because he knew his brother was gone.</p> <p>In the courtroom, Jones identified Peoples as the shooter. </p> <p>Peoples' defense attorney Jason Downs told jurors that Maurice’s ability to accurately recount the events of that night was hampered by his use of marijuana earlier in the day.</p> <p>Downs argued that the ballistics evidence doesn’t show that Peoples fired a gun, and that there is evidence, such as bullet fragments found on the side of the street opposite the building, to suggest that Peoples was the one being shot at.</p> <p>Fleming's defense attorney Gregg Baron then said that fingerprint and DNA evidence were inconclusive with relation to Fleming, and that based on the way Michael Jones fell suggests he was shot from behind or from across the street, but not from above, where Fleming was standing. He also argued that the video of the shooting shows that nobody looked up at someone firing from above, as would be expected.</p> <p>Bryant argued that Fleming ran down nine flights of stairs after the murder and "running is consciousness of guilt." Bryant also said that Peoples doesn't have to be the "shooter" to be guilty.</p> <p>"He is aiding and embedding Fleming," Bryant said. "He certainly had his gun out."</p> Imari WilliamsWed, 23 Jul 2014 20:00:48 -0400 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesProsecutors Not Seeking First-Degree Murder Charges Against Bernard Fleming and Joseph Peoples<p>One day before jury deliberations are expected to begin, prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges against <a href="">Bernard Fleming</a> and <a href="">Joseph Peoples</a>.</p> <p>Instead, the two men will be charged with the lesser offense of second-degree murder while armed, as well as tampering with physical evidence and eight related weapons charges. Peoples and Fleming are charged in connection with the June 2012 shooting death of <a href="">Michael Jones</a>.</p> <p>The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the choice to reduce the charges.<br /> <span id="more-24020"></span><br /> During the trial, <a href="">prosecutors argued</a> that Peoples and Fleming ambushed Jones, his brother Maurice and two others on the night of June 7, 2012, after Maurice Jones and Fleming had a brief fight earlier in the day. </p> <p>Defense attorneys say Fleming and Peoples did not shoot Michael Jones, and that they were actually the victims of the attack, which started because Fleming was having an affair with Maurice Jones' girlfriend. </p> <p>The decision to dismiss the charges in favor of two lesser counts came immediately after the two defense teams rested their cases. Both Peoples and Fleming waived their right to testify on their own behalf. </p> <p>Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected to begin Tuesday. </p> Timothy RyanMon, 21 Jul 2014 18:40:18 -0400 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesOpening Statements Heard in the Murder Trial Against Joseph Peoples and Bernard Fleming<p>All Maurice and <a href="">Michael Jones</a> wanted to do on the night of June 7, 2012 was talk to <a href="">Bernard Fleming</a> and <a href="">Joseph Peoples</a> about a fight earlier that day. But Fleming and Peoples didn't want to talk, said Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy. </p> <p>Instead, Rakoczy said, Fleming and Peoples ambushed and shot at the Jones brothers, leaving Michael dead with a bullet in his head and Maurice injured with bullet fragments in his chest. </p> <p>The men are each charged with ten criminal counts in connection with Jones' death. Opening arguments were held in the case Tuesday.</p> <p><span id="more-23952"></span></p> <p>Fleming's attorney Gregg Baron argued his client did not fire a shot and that no witness would be able to place a gun in Fleming's hand during the shooting. Instead, Baron pointed to another shooter: the brother of one of Peoples' friends. Baron said he fired the shots because he thought his brother was in danger. </p> <p>Baron also called into question the reliability of Maurice Jones' testimony, saying his testimony would contradict statements he had made at other times leading up to the trial. Baron told jurors Fleming has cooperated with police since he was stopped shortly after the shooting--a sign of his innocence, Baron said. </p> <p>Peoples' attorney Emily Barth argued the Jones brothers were the aggressors in the incident, and that Peoples hid behind a car in an effort to avoid their attacks, which Barth said were a result of an affair Fleming had had with Maurice Jones' girlfriend. </p> <p>"Maurice Jones is tired of being played a fool, tired of losing to Bernard Fleming, tired of losing face," Barth said in opening statements. </p> <p>Fleming's defense also mentioned the possibility that Maurice and Fleming argued over a girl. </p> <p>Prosecutors say that video shows the Jones brothers outside of the building running away suddenly, indicating an surprise attack or ambush. Two other videos shows Peoples running into the building, tucking a gun into his waistband, and later apparently placing something under the stairs, Rakoczy argued.</p> <p>Police later recovered two guns under the same stairwell, according to Officer Robert McCollum, who testified for the prosecution later in the day. </p> <p>The trial is set to resume Wednesday at 10 a.m. </p> Timothy RyanTue, 15 Jul 2014 18:44:39 -0400 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesBernard Fleming Ordered Held in Shooting Death of Michael Jones<p><a href="" >Bernard Fleming</a> pleaded innocent Tuesday to a 12-count indictment charging him with the 2012 shooting death of 30-year-old <a href="" >Michael Edward Jones.</a> </p> <p>Fleming, 23, is the third suspect arrested in connection with Jones' death. He remains held pending a Friday hearing scheduled for the case.<br /> <span id="more-20739"></span><br /> <a href="" >Police found Jones on July 7, 2012</a> around 10:40 p.m. in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a gunshot wound. </p> <p>Medical services responded to the crime scene and pronounced Jones dead. </p> <p><a href="" >Four days later, Joseph Peoples was arrested</a> and charged as the sole suspect in Jones’ murder. <a href="" >But a superseding indictment filed last week</a> charged Fleming, and Peoples, with first-degree premeditated murder while armed, assault, tampering with physical evidence and several weapons offenses in connection with Jones’ death.</p> <p>Police arrested Fleming on Monday after a warrant for his arrest was issued last week. A third man, James Hamlin, was also arrested and indicted on two weapons violations in connection with the case.</p> <p><a href="" >According to charging documents,</a> a witness told police they saw Peoples walk up to an unidentified male adult in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest moments before the shooting.</p> <p>The witness said the unidentified man passed something to Peoples, and Peoples immediately turned and shot in the direction of Jones, causing his death, documents state.</p> <p>The case is scheduled for a felony status conference on Friday with Judge Robert Morin. </p> Ivan NatividadTue, 28 Jan 2014 17:15:17 -0500 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph PeoplesNew Indictment Charges Joseph Peoples and Bernard Fleming With Michael Jones Murder<p><a href="" >Joseph Peoples</a> pleaded innocent Friday to charges from a 12-count indictment charging him and a co-defendant, <a href="" >Bernard Fleming</a>, with the 2012 shooting death of 30-year-old <a href="" >Michael Edward Jones.</a> </p> <p>This indictment is the second delivered by a grand jury in the case. <span id="more-20654"></span></p> <p><a href="" >Peoples, 21, was initially indicted last April</a> as the sole suspect in Jones' murder. But prosecutors said Friday that a new grand jury investigation found that Fleming participated in Jones' death. A third man, James Hamlin, is charged with two weapons violations.</p> <p>Fleming and Hamlin have not been arrested, According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Lyons, but warrants have been issued for both men in connection with the case.</p> <p>Peoples and Fleming are charged with first-degree premeditated murder while armed, assault, tampering with physical evidence and several weapons offenses in connection with Jones' death.</p> <p><a href="" >Police found Jones on July 7, 2012</a> at approximately 10:38 p.m. in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest, unconscious and unresponsive with a gunshot wound. He died on scene. Four days later, Peoples was arrested and charged with second-degree murder while armed in Jones' death.</p> <p>Charging documents in the case say that the night of the murder, Peoples was involved in a shootout with Jones.</p> <p>A witness told police that they saw Peoples walk up to an unidentified male adult in the 1700 block of 7th Street Northwest moments before the shooting, documents state. </p> <p>The witness said the unidentified man passed something to Peoples, and Peoples immediately turned and shot in the direction of Jones, documents state. </p> <p>Jones returned fire but was shot in the head and fell to the ground, the witness told investigators.</p> <p>Video footage from the crime scene show Jones returning fire after being shot at from an area out of camera view. Jones is then seen turning to run but is shot and falls to the ground, documents say.</p> <p>Peoples is then seen seconds later in front of a nearby building tucking something into the front of his pants before entering, documents say. The building security camera captures Peoples place something under the building's staircase, then running up the stairs out of the camera's view. </p> <p>Police said two handguns from underneath that same staircase were recovered at the crime scene.</p> <p>The case is scheduled for a motion hearing on January 31 with Judge Robert Morin. A trial date is set for February 3, pending the arrests of Fleming and Hamlin.</p> <p><em>The indictment can be found below.</em></p> <p><script src="//"></script><br /> <script> DV.load("//", { width: 450, height: 600, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1009277-peoples-fleming-hamlin" }); </script></p> <noscript> <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','download','']);">Peoples Fleming Hamlin (PDF)</a><br /> <br /> <a href="" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','']);">Peoples Fleming Hamlin (Text)</a><br /> </noscript> Ivan NatividadFri, 24 Jan 2014 17:24:08 -0500 Edward JonesBernard FlemingJoseph Peoples