The Washington Post

Judge orders suspect in Dupont Circle attack released into halfway house

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered a District man, charged in the October beating of a part-time George Washington University professor, released from jail Monday and into a halfway house.

Judge Rhonda Reid Winston also ordered James R. Brown of Southeast Washington not to leave the halfway house except for court appearances, and he is to wear a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet.

Brown, 38, was charged with assault in the beating of 39-year-old Jason Chambers, who was found critically injured on a sidewalk near Dupont Circle.

At the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Cannon said that, although Chambers was no longer in a coma, doctors had to remove part of his skull after Brown allegedly stomped on his head during the attack. Cannon said the victim “will never be the same.”

Brown has been in D.C. jail since his arrest following the Oct. 30 attack.

Brown’s attorney, Charles Canty, argued for his client’s release from jail, and said he hoped that Brown could return to work while prosectors waited to see whether he would be indicted by a grand jury. But Cannon argued against the release, saying Brown was working at the time of the incident.

Police said the altercation began as Brown and co-workers were transferring newspapers from one delivery truck to another about 4:15 a.m. at S Street and Connecticut Avenue NW.

Police said in court documents that Brown punched Chambers after feeling threatened, checked the man’s pulse and then “got back into his truck and began delivering his newspapers, leaving the victim on the sidewalk.” At Monday’s hearing, Canty argued that his client was also “a victim.”

Brown is employed as a “casual laborer” whose job was to jump off trucks and put Washington Post newspapers into single-sale boxes around the city. He is not an employee of The Post but was hired by agents who are contracted by the newspaper.

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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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