Two murder suspects due in Montgomery County court Wednesday

Two murder suspects are due in Montgomery County District Court Wednesday for hearings about the bond conditions that are keeping them behind bars.

The hearings often reveal details of cases because prosecutors traditionally argue that homicide suspects pose a risk prior to their trials. Both suspects were arrested recently, and both are being held in a Montgomery County jail on no-bond status.

In one case, Katrina Ben, 35, is accused of shooting Eric Somuah in the head inside his Silver Spring apartment in June of 2012. Detectives interviewed Ben, who was a neighbor of Somuah’s and told detectives she was involved in a romantic relationship with him, according to arrest records.

Detectives eventually were able to track the gun used in the shooting to Ben, according to arrest records. The gun had been found, partially disassembled, on the side of the Capital Beltway by a passing motorist. Detectives learned that Ben had purchased it in 2004 in Columbia, Miss., according to arrest records.

In the other case, Fidel Washington, 25, told detectives that he stabbed his mother, Esperanza Valle, at least 40 times as “a way to control her,” according to charging documents. The two lived together in the high-rise Chateau apartments, and detectives believe Washington killed his mother about 36 hours before her body was discovered and that he spent at least part of the intervening time in their residence, officials said.

Police discovered the body on June 28 after they went to the apartment because a co-worker of Valle’s grew concerned that she hadn’t been at work.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.

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