Two men with prior arrests who had set out to rob transgender women are responsible for crimes including a deadly July shooting in Northeast, according to authorities and court papers.
One man, Shareem Hall, 22, of District Heights, Md., is charged with first-degree felony murder in the slaying of Deeniquia Dodds. Dodds, 22, a transgender woman, was shot July 4 and died days later.
At the time Dodds was shot, Hall was on probation for a 2015 burglary conviction, and authorities were seeking to have that probation revoked because he was charged in a drug case, court records show.
The second suspect, Jalonte Little, 26, was awaiting trial on a carjacking charge at the time of the shooting and wore a GPS monitoring device, according to the court papers. Two law enforcement officials said a warrant had been issued charging him in connection with Dodds’s death, but it had not yet been served because Little was jailed on a robbery charge.
Prosecutors said in court that a third suspect has been linked to the gun used in Dodds’s killing. Authorities did not identify that person.
“This is a conspiracy targeting transgender women,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Saunders said at a Friday hearing.
In an affidavit for Hall’s arrest, D.C. police said they think Dodds’s slaying is linked to other robberies in which transgender women were targeted, the first of which occurred June 28. In that case, they said, a man forced a transgender woman to disrobe at gunpoint, then ordered her to run across the street. He took her shoes, police said.
Less than a week later, on July 4, police said, an officer was flagged down just before 3 a.m. and told about an unconscious person. The officer found Dodds with a gunshot wound to the neck.
Another armed robbery was reported July 4, after the shooting, police said, in an area frequented by transgender prostitutes, according to the affidavit.
Dodds, who went by the nickname “Dee Dee,” lived with her aunt Joeann Lewis. Lewis has said that Dodds worked as a prostitute and that the family worried about her safety.
Dodds was close to her family, and generous toward her four siblings and younger cousins, family members have said.
In the affidavit, police said a witness reported seeing two men fighting with Dodds in the street as Dodds tried to pull away. The witness said that a shot was fired and that Dodds fell to the ground as the men ran.
A second witness told police that earlier that night, Dodds had been carrying a silver purse and a cellphone, according to the affidavit. When she was found wounded, police said, those items were not with her.
Just hours after the shooting, according to the affidavit, police were called by the victim of the June 28 robbery. The victim pointed out a white Pontiac parked in the street, telling officers that the man who robbed her had used that car.
Little was later seen getting into the Pontiac, and the victim identified him as her assailant, according to court papers.
Police said data from the GPS device that Little was wearing showed that he was in the area of the June 28 robbery and the July 4 shooting. The tracker also showed that he was near the armed robbery that was reported after the shooting, according to the court document.
The GPS data, police wrote was “consistent with defendant Little driving to and from the scene of the murder in a vehicle, and waiting in the vehicle during the murder.”
Authorities wrote that they tracked Hall through cellphone calls with Little. Police said the Glock handgun used in Dodds’s shooting was later recovered in Prince George’s County in the possession of a person with connections to Hall.
In June 2015, Hall was sentenced to three years of probation after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of burglary.
On April 28, according to court records, Hall was arrested in Prince George’s on drug charges. Hall’s probation officer was notified a month later. An Aug. 16 court date was set to review Hall’s probation status. The hearing was not held. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.
When Dodds was shot, Little was on release awaiting retrial in a 2008 carjacking. He had previously been found guilty, but a D.C. appeals court last year overturned the conviction, finding that police had coerced a confession by suggesting to the then-18-year-old defendant that he would be raped in jail. Prosecutors had asked that Little remain in jail awaiting trial, but a judge ordered him released with GPS monitoring.