Joshua Mebane plans insanity defense in fatal shooting of D.C. cabdriver

The 18-year-old Waldorf man charged in the fatal shootings of a D.C. cab driver in 2012 and of a Charles County woman last year was insane at the time of the earlier crime and wants to go to trial, his attorneys told a D.C. Superior Court judge Thursday.

Lawyers for Joshua T. Mebane said their client pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and requests a February trial. Mebane is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 7, 2012 fatal shooting of cab driver Quadar Muhammad in the District.

Early this year, Mebane was sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital, the District’s psychiatric facility. Later, a judge ordered two court-appointed doctors to examine him. Mebane’s attorney, Gretchen Franklin, argued before Judge Jennifer Anderson that her client was not competent at the time of the shooting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Pace told the judge that investigators had Mebane’s DNA that linked him to the shooting. Pace also said that his office offered Mebane a plea deal of second-degree murder while armed, in which prosecutors would request a sentence of between 18 and 25 years. Mebane rejected the deal.

“I want to go to trial,” Mebane told the judge.

If the jury rejects Mebane’s insanity defense and finds him guilty of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to more than 50 years in prison. Mebane’s trial was scheduled for February. He is currently being held at the D.C. jail.

Last year, Mebane’s then-girlfriend and co-defendant in the case, Linda Bury, 18, pleaded guilty to robbery and is currently awaiting sentencing. Police said Bury, of Baltimore County, was with Mebane at the time of the shooting.

Mebane is also awaiting trial in the Oct. 26 fatal shooting of 40-year-old Teresa Ann Bass. Police sayd she who was walking her dog on a footpath, accompanied by her husband, when Mebane fatally shot her at random. Mebane is charged with first-degree murder in that shooting. That case is scheduled to begin after the D.C. case.

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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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