Brother of NFL players charged in second D.C. hammer attack

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A 19-year-old man accused of striking a woman with a hammer and fracturing her skull was charged Saturday with a second, previously unknown, attack in the Petworth neighborhood and ordered held in jail pending a preliminary hearing in May.

Michael W. Davis, the younger brother of two professional football players, was charged in D.C. Superior Court with two counts of assault with intent to kill in connection with two attacks Thursday. D.C. police are continuing to investigate whether three other similar attacks that occurred Tuesday and Wednesday, including a fatal assault on a tourist, are also related. In each of the five incidents, victims suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

On Saturday, at his first court appearance since his arrest, Davis was clad in a white jumpsuit and shackles. He made no statement to the court.

Several family members, who declined to comment afterward, broke down sobbing when D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael Rankin said Mr. Davis would remain in jail.

Mr. Davis has many, many family member here and has ties to the community,” public defender Dana Page said at Saturday’s hearing as she argued for his release from custody. “He has never been arrested before.”

Mr. Davis is the younger brother of San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis.

Though Mr. Davis does not have an arrest record, he appears to have had some contact with the court system as a juvenile.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat and chairman of the committee with oversight of agencies charged with rehabilitation of troubled youth, said he remains deeply concerned about whether Mr. Davis was in need of mental health services he did not receive.

Mr. Graham on Saturday said Mr. Davis had a truancy problem in 2008 that resulted in probation and “wraparound services” through Court Social Services (CSS) — though it is unlikely that agency still had jurisdiction over Mr. Davis at the time of his arrest. CSS officials would not comment.

But Mr. Graham stressed that at age 19 Davis is legally an adult, and that there is no record he was ever committed to the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), the city’s juvenile justice agency.

“We should not manufacture juvenile status for people over the age of 18,” he said, noting that DYRS has custody over committed youth in some cases until age 21.

Although Mr. Davis was never committed to DYRS, sources inside the agency that reviewed his DYRS file said it indicated a pre-commitment status and that three DYRS supervisory social workers each made notations in the file in 2010, when he would have been 17 or 18.

Those sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said it was unclear from the file how or if Mr. Davis‘ pre-commitment status was reconciled. DYRS officials would neither confirm nor deny that Mr. Davis was in a pre-commitment status, and the nature of such a status is unclear.

Police arrested Mr. Davis Thursday night as officers patrolled the Petworth neighborhood in response to the series of attacks, which all occurred within a 10-block radius.

Around 9 p.m., officers heard a woman screaming and found her on the ground in the 800 block of Gallatin Street in Northwest. She had been struck in the back of the head and suffered a skull fracture, according to court documents charging Mr. Davis with the attack.

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