An 18-year-old arrested for driving the stolen sport-utility vehicle of an American University professor in October just hours after she was killed was not connected with the woman’s slaying, a federal prosecutor told a D.C. Superior Court judge at a hearing Tuesday.

At the hearing, Deandrew R. Hamlin of Northwest Washington pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Hamlin was spotted Oct. 25 driving the stolen Jeep Cherokee belonging to American University professor Sue Ann Marcum. Marcum’s body had been found in her Montgomery County home in the 6200 block of Massachusetts Avenue earlier that day. According to police, Hamlin was spotted in the vehicle in the 2400 block of Benning Road NE just after 11 p.m. and led officers on a 10-minute chase before he crashed the Jeep into a pole.

Before Judge Robert E. Morin ordered Hamlin released after his guilty plea, Morin asked Assistant U.S. Attorney James Smith if Hamlin was connected to the murder investigation into Marcum’s killing. Smith said Hamlin was not.

Morin said Smith would not elaborate since the case was before a grand jury.

Hamlin was extradited from Maryland to the District on Tuesday for the hearing. Morin ordered him released from jail afterward.

Outside the courtroom, Hamlin’s attorney, Brian K. McDaniel, said his client had no connection to Marcum’s slaying and had just “picked up the vehicle” after he received a call about an abandoned vehicle in the neighborhood.

Hamlin faces up to five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced May 13.

Meanwhile, Montgomery officials continue to investigate Marcum’s slaying. Autopsy reports said Marcum died of asphyxia and blunt force trauma.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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