Teen allegedly said he planned robbery that turned deadly


In this family photograph from Easter 2013, Rashard Jaie Raigns, left, is seen with his siblings Joi, Jene (dark blue), Judi (light blue) and Jan (top right). (Family Photo)

It was his plan, 16-year-old Demitrich Jones would later tell police, to hold up a man he had seen walking around the Ivy City neighborhood of Northeast Washington and steal his laptop. That plan turned deadly, according to D.C. police.

At around 10:30 p.m. on June 3, Jones, armed with a black BB gun, and a friend, William Smallwood, 22, who carried a revolver, approached Rashard Raigns, 33, a onetime Bethesda high school star student and football player, according to police testimony in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday. Police say the two men and the teenager got into a scuffle, and Raigns fell to the ground, fatally shot in the torso.

Jones, Smallwood and a 14-year-old accomplice fled the scene, leaving Raigns dying on the ground, according to testimony. Minutes later, after the three made sure no police officers had been called, Jones went back to Raigns’s body and grabbed the computer, police said.

Jones and Smallwood were charged with felony first-degree murder. Jones was charged as an adult. The second teenager was arrested and charged as a juvenile in connection with the incident. The Washington Post generally does not identify suspects charged as juveniles.

At Thursday’s preliminary hear­ing, Judge Jennifer Anderson said the planning of the robbery and the retrieval of the computer after Raigns was shot were “pretty coldblooded.” She ordered Jones and Smallwood to remain in jail until trial.

During the hearing, Detective Michael Callahan testified that Jones and the 14-year-old have admitted to the robbery, but each told police it was Smallwood who shot Raigns. Jones, Callahan testified, told police the robbery was his idea but that Smallwood had “a real gun” and Jones had only a BB gun.

Callahan testified that Jones walked police through a security video of the incident. The video, Callahan said, did not display the faces of the assailants, but Jones identified himself and Smallwood. Jones said the pair wore T-shirts over their faces and heads at the time of the shooting, according to Callahan.

After the killing, police released the video as they searched for suspects. Under questioning by attorneys for Jones and Smallwood, Callahan would not identify the person who identified Jones as appearing in the video.

Smallwood’s attorney, Dana Page of the D.C. Public Defender Service, said her client denied being involved in the shooting.

At the time of the shooting, Smallwood was on probation for a 2012 robbery conviction, the judge said.

Raigns, who had stayed in a nearby homeless shelter the two nights before he died, was described by friends as a brilliant student who grew troubled.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 12.

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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 intern Chandra Levy.
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