Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Two brothers appeared in D.C. Superior Court yesterday, where they were charged with premeditated murder in the one-shot killing of an 8-year-old girl in a Northeast home the night of May 3.

Raashed Hall, 21, and Ricardo Hall, 23, made no comment as they appeared before Magistrate Hugh O Stevenson. Judge Stevenson ordered them to be held in jail without bail and to return to court on May 19 at 9:30 a.m. to enter pleas on the first-degree murder charges.

Metropolitan police continue to investigate the case that caused citywide outrage when Chelsea Danielle Cromartie, 8, died from a bullet that entered her brain behind her left ear just before 9 p.m. on May 3.

The brothers said Raashed Hall fired several shots from a 9 mm handgun at some teenagers in front of the house in the 800 block of 52nd Street NE, where Chelsea was watching television with her aunt and other family members, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The brothers recounted the incident in statements to the court.

They said Raashed Hall and his girlfriend had quarreled and fought with some teenagers earlier that evening in front of George’s Carryout in the 5100 block of Nannie Burroughs Avenue NE, about three blocks from Chelsea’s residence.

During the fight, they said, his girlfriend took a hammer from their car and swung it at the teenagers. The hammer flew loose, and the teenagers seized it and broke the windows of the car.

Ricardo Hall said Raashed Hall said a shot was fired as he drove the car away.

Raashed Hall called his brother and asked him to bring a “hammer,” referring to a pistol. Ricardo Hall and his girlfriend drove to the scene, picked up Raashed Hall and his girlfriend, circled the area, and then departed.

The girlfriends were let out, and the brothers returned and stopped in front of the house on 52nd Street where two teenagers stood. Ricardo Hall, who was driving, opened his window, and Raashed Hall leaned over him and fired “several shots,” court records state.

The court record says Ricardo Hall “thought the plan was to locate the individuals, confront them and scare them by shooting in the air.”

The brothers live with their mother in the 1300 block of K Street SE.

In court, the brothers stood side by side, hands behind their backs.

Their mother and other relatives were in court, but one in the group said, “We don’t have any comments.”

Raashed Hall is a glass cutter with a Georgetown glass business. Superior Court records state that he is to appear in court Thursdayon charges of possession of marijuana and on July 15 on charges of reckless driving. Three previous charges involving vehicles were dropped in 2002.

Ricardo Hall has no previous charges filed in Superior Court, but he admitted to using drugs within the “past week.” He has been employed for three years as a maintenance worker in Meadowbrook Park, administered by the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission.

First-degree murder charges specify that a killing has to be planned, or premeditated. Officials yesterday explained that if a shooter aims to kill someone, but misses and the bullet kills someone else, it is still first-degree murder.

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