One suspect in Woodley Park Metro slaying says victim had knife, detective tells judge

The 18-year-old Olney man who was fatally stabbed at the Woodley Park Metro station was holding a knife when his designer jacket was stolen from him, one of the suspects charged in the robbery told D.C. detectives.

During a preliminary hearing Friday in D.C. Superior Court, homicide detective Robert Arrington Jr. testified that one of the suspects, whom he did not identify, told authorities that Olijawon Griffin was wielding a knife when a group of teenagers robbed Griffin of his designer Helly Hansen jacket, a baseball cap and an iPhone.

Authorities have arrested nine teenagers in the Nov. 17 slaying and robbery. Five of the suspects were charged as adults, and Friday’s hearing was about charges against four of them.

Prosecutors played a 16-second video clip from Metro security cameras of the fatal altercation. Judge Ronna Beck ruled that the video could be shown only to the lawyers, defendants and the judge, and not to the audience of family members and friends of the victims, defendants and news media. Prosecutors requested that the video not be shown to the entire courtroom out of concern over the identification of juveniles and potential witnesses, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said later.

But audience members were able to listen. About 20 minutes after the teens allegedly robbed Griffin at an Exxon gas station, Griffin and his friends walked to the upper Northwest Washington train station. Coincidentally, the group of alleged robbers were at the same Metro station.

The detective testified that when Griffin and his friends saw his attackers, one of whom was wearing his $400 jacket, they approached them and a fight broke out.

In the audio, audience members could hear a male yelling, “Come see me on the one.” Arrington said that person was Griffin, who was encouraging his attackers to lay down their weapons and fight with their fists instead.

Then Griffin’s attackers began stomping and kicking one of his friends. Griffin yelled at his attackers to fight him instead. Griffin and another man began swinging at each other, and one of the teens stabbed Griffin once in the chest, Arrington testified.

He identified that person as Chavez Tyrek Myers, 17, of District Heights. Myers, who was in the courtroom behind his attorneys with the District’s Public Defender Service, is the only one of the group charged with murder.

After the stabbing, Arrington testified that Griffin fell and a male voice is heard yelling, “Pick up that knife.”

Arrington also testified that the video does not show Griffin holding a knife.

Sitting next to Myers in the courtroom were his friends, Deon Jefferson, Immanuel Swann and Gary Maye, all 17. The three teenagers were charged with armed robbery during the incident near the Exxon station.

The hearing for the fourth suspect charged as an adult with armed robbery, Tyvell Smith, also 17, was rescheduled for Dec. 10. Absent from the hearing were the two 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds who were charged in the robbery as juveniles.

The lengthy preliminary hearing, which will determine if the judge will release any of the teens, is expected to continue Monday afternoon.

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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