An 18-year-old ward of the District identified as a suspect in the October killing of an American University professor was ordered held on $1 million bond Tuesday after being charged with stealing her car.
Montgomery County District Judge Brian G. Kim granted the prosecution’s request for the high bond after State’s Attorney John McCarthy argued that Deandrew Hamlin, who was under the supervision of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) at the time of his arrest, was a flight risk and was key to the ongoing murder investigation of Sue Ann Marcum.
“We think he is a critical person in this case,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Mr. McCarthy said investigators have so far been given four versions of how Marcum’s 1999 Jeep Cherokee ended up in Hamlin’s possession. He said Hamlin told them a friend had given him the keys, then changed his story to say he had gotten the vehicle from his brother, whom Mr. McCarthy identified as Deandre Hamlin.
He said investigators spoke with Deandre, who told them he found the car on the street with the keys in it, called his brother and the two of them took it together. The prosecutor said Hamlin changed his story last night when he spoke with investigators after he was extradited to Montgomery County from the District, where he was initially taken into custody.
Mr. McCarthy told the judge that police had talked to one person close to Hamlin and that Hamlin said he had been committing burglaries in the Bethesda area. Mr. McCarthy also said Hamlin had eight prior juvenile arrests in the District, but declined to elaborate on the nature of those charges. He said Hamlin told investigators he had escaped from multiple group homes.
Hamlin’s attorney, Public Defender Alan Drew, argued that his client should be GPS monitored and released to the custody of his mother, who was present in the courtroom.
“This case right now pending before the court involves the unlawful taking of an automobile,” Mr. Drew said, adding that the prosecution has had plenty of time to charge Hamlin in the homicide. “The state has not seen fit to charge Mr. Hamlin in that case.”
Hamlin appeared from a county detention facility via closed-circuit television. He wore a green shirt and did not make any statements. His trial is set for Jan. 3. He faces 10 years on the theft charge, five years for motor vehicle theft and four years for unauthorized removal of property.
Mr. McCarthy stopped short of saying additional charges against Hamlin, or anyone else, were forthcoming in connection with the killing.
“His precise role in the murder of Sue Ann Marcum is under investigation and continues to be under investigation,” Mr. McCarthy said outside the courtroom.
Hamlin was arrested Oct. 26 just after midnight when police located the stolen Jeep near New York Avenue and Third Street Northwest. Alone in the Jeep, Hamlin led police on a brief chase before crashing the vehicle. He fled on foot but later admitted to police that he was the driver.
He was charged in the District with driving a stolen vehicle, but prosecutors dropped those charges Nov. 16 to facilitate his transfer to Montgomery County.
Metropolitan Police said in court papers that the Jeep Hamlin was driving belonged to Marcum and was taken one day before Hamlin’s arrest. Marcum had taught at American University’s Kogod School of Business since 1999 and directed the master’s degree accounting program. Before that, she was the tax director for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Officers responded at 10:52 a.m. Oct. 25 after a friend found Marcum’s body on the lower level of her home in the 6200 block of Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda. Police said they found signs of a break-in and struggle at the house. Court papers listed the cause of her death as “asphyxia and blunt-force trauma.”
The Washington Times reported last month that Hamlin had a juvenile record that included car theft and destruction of property and was committed to the custody of DYRS. In a recent series of articles, The Times reported that DYRS has been plagued by a pattern of crimes committed by and against youths under the agency’s supervision.