The Washington Post

Montgomery police say man charged with murder ran over two brothers with his car

A 20-year-old Montgomery County man accused of hunting down two brothers and running them over with a Honda Civic has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, police said Friday.

But an attorney for Fernando Josue Valenzuela of Damascus said his client never intended to hit the two men but was trying to scare them with the car when he lost control of it.

“I think he’s innocent of any murder charges,” said Andy Jezic, Valenzuela’s attorney.

The events at issue began to unfold late the night of Dec. 4. Two men — Billie Jay Genies and his brother, James Genies — met three men, including Valenzuela, at a 7-Eleven in Damascus, according to police arrest records. The Genies brothers didn’t know the men prior to that night, police said.

They climbed into Valenzuela’s black Civic to get a ride to Gaithersburg, police said.

When the car got near ­Gaitherstowne Plaza in Gaithersburg, the Genies brothers exited the car. Valenzuela grew angry that they had not paid him for the ride and began driving around looking for them, according to police.

His two passengers urged him to “let it go,” according to arrest records, to which Valenzuela responded: “They ain’t gonna rob me. I’m going to wreck them.”

Police assert that Valenzuela was behind the wheel when he spotted the brothers from behind, accelerated, swerved and hit both men.

Police were called to the scene — 211 W. Diamond Ave. — at 1:17 a.m. Dec. 5. They found Billie Jay Genies, 34, dead, and James Genies, who is now 35, alive a short distance away.

James Genies told police the two had been hit by a black Honda Civic, and he thought it was the same car they had exited before.

Billie Jay Genies suffered massive trauma to the head, authorities said.

James Genies, who was taken to a hospital, had multiple injuries that were “also consistent with having been struck by a moving vehicle.”

Police said in charging documents that Valenzuela was driving his mother’s car and that it was found abandoned and “severely damaged” about three blocks from where the brothers were struck.

Jezic said he had spoken with two witnesses who have provided accounts to police. He said they told him a different account.

“Fernando said nothing to indicate an intent to harm” the brothers, Jezic said.

He said his client holds two jobs — working about 60 hours a week — at a Chipotle restaurant and doing construction work with his father.

Police arrested Valenzuela without incident on Thursday. On Friday, District Judge Eugene Wolfe ordered him held without bond.

Wolfe said he didn’t like what Valenzuela was said to have done and how he allegedly fled.

“He leaves the scene,” Wolfe said. “That’s problematic, really problematic.”

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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