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5th suspect in D.C. drive-by killings is held without bond

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By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the fifth and final suspect in a deadly drive-by shooting last month to be held without bond in D.C. jail.

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Prosecutors charged Jeffrey D. Best, 21, with four counts of first-degree murder and one felony murder count in the attacks. His lawyer, Michael O'Keefe, said Best was not guilty and argued that the government's evidence was questionable because it was based primarily on the account of another suspect in the shootings.

Judge Karen Howze ordered Best held after a prosecutor told the judge that Best was also a suspect in two deadly shootings that led up to the March 30 drive-by attack in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street SE. Three people were killed and six wounded in the mass shooting.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Hegyi argued that Best was a suspect in the March 22 shooting death of Jordan Howe, 20, on Alabama Avenue SE after a bracelet belonging to the brother of one of Best's friends, Sanquan Carter, went missing after a party. Carter, 19, was arrested in connection with Howe's death a day after the shooting.

Police said Howe's death precipitated another shooting a week later and then the drive-by attack.

Hegyi said Best was also charged in the death of Tavon Nelson, 17, who was standing outside his apartment complex on Galveston Street SW on March 30 when he was shot in what police said was a botched robbery. Then, about five minutes later, according to court records, Best and the three other men charged in the Nelson shooting -- Orlando Carter, 20, Nathaniel Simms, 26, and Robert Bost, 22 -- drove to South Capitol Street in a rented minivan and opened fire on a crowd of mourners who had attended Howe's funeral that day. Another man charged in the drive-by attack, Lamar Williams, 22, is suspected of supplying the guns that were used.

Killed in the drive-by attack were DaVaughn Boyd, 18, William Jones III, 19, and Brishell Jones, 16.

Best was arrested Monday. Police said he was the final suspect connected to the shootings.

Best, his legs and arms shackled, stood quietly in court. At times he looked behind him and smiled at people in the gallery, before a federal marshal ordered him to face the front. Best had two gun possession convictions last year.

Best's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday and has been consolidated with the hearings for Bost and Williams.


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