A teen arrested in the beating of an 81-year-old Northwest Washington woman was ordered held without bond at his preliminary hearing Monday.
Tyran McElrath, 18, faces a first-degree burglary charge after a GPS monitoring bracelet that he was wearing at the time of the Nov. 7 burglary and attack was tracked to and inside the woman’s home, according to police.
Neither prosecutors nor police said during Mr. McElrath’s preliminary hearing why he was being monitored by a GPS tracking device, but sources at the District's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services have confirmed Mr. McElrath was a ward of the District.
Detective Adams explained that the ankle bracelet Mr. McElrath was wearing at the time registers its location every minute and is accurate up to about 10 feet. Records from the device’s location between 11:43 a.m. and 12:14 p.m. Nov. 7 put Mr. McElrath in and around the woman’s home in the 3500 block of McKinley Street Northwest, court documents state.
Police said Mr. McElrath broke into the woman’s home through a rear window. When the two encountered each other in the woman’s living room, the woman asked the masked intruder to leave. Police said the intruder began cursing at the woman and hit her several times until she fell unconscious. The woman, who is legally blind and was hospitalized after the attack, suffered bruises on her face and forehead and a split lip, Detective Adams testified.
When the woman regained consciousness, she found her laptop computer in the front yard and her door open. Her drawers and file cabinets had been searched, and several items inside the home had been moved around. Money from the woman’s change purse had been taken, Detective Adams said.
After Mr. McElrath was arrested at his home in Southeast Washington, he told police in an interview that he felt sorry for the woman, stating, “Y’all got me” and “That lady could’ve been my grandmother,” court records state.
Defense attorney Andrew Stanner, who represented Mr. McElrath, argued that just because his client was tracked to the home did not confirm that he was the one who attacked the woman. He questioned whether the victim provided a description that matched his client.
A status conference has been scheduled in the case for Dec. 13.
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Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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