- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An 18-year-old D.C. man identified as a suspect in the October killing of an American University professor is back in custody in the District after he broke the conditions of his release and went missing last month, his attorney said.

Deandrew Hamlin, a ward of the District arrested in the October killing of Sue Ann Marcum, fled custody less than a week after a Montgomery County judge reduced his bond from $1 million to $50,000, court records show.

Hamlin’s attorney, Brian K. McDaniel, told The Washington Times on Wednesday that his client reported to his juvenile case agent in the D.C. Public Schools on Tuesday and was turned over to police, more than two weeks after he went missing on Jan. 27.

“There were some complications in the housing status of Mr. Hamlin under the provisions of the release,” he said. He declined to elaborate further.

Hamlin faces a scheduled pretrial hearing Thursday.

A petition to revoke the bond filed Jan. 28 by pretrial services said Hamlin reported to authorities on Jan. 24 as he was obligated to do by the court. The report said he was outfitted with an electronic monitoring device and ordered to obey a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.

“Mr. Hamlin failed to operate his equipment as instructed,” the report said. It said his equipment lost a signal on Jan. 25, although it continued to send a signal until early the next day. The report notes that pretrial offices were without power on Jan. 27, but staff was present and Hamlin failed to report.

The man into whose custody Hamlin had been released notified authorities on Jan. 28 that Hamlin had not returned to his Silver Spring home the previous night. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

In the motion to revoke bond, prosecutors say pretrial services “believes the battery for the GPS device is likely dead.” The motion also seems to question whether Hamlin ever should have been released into the custody of Mahdi Shabazz, who Mr. McDaniel describes as a “surrogate father.”

“It appears the court was unaware that Mr. Shabazz was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a prohibited person on November 22, 2010,” the motion says. In addition, it says Mr. Shabazz was also found guilty of misdemeanor sex offenses in the District on Nov. 30.

Hamlin was arrested Oct. 26 just after midnight when police located Ms. Marcum’s 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 to facilitate his transfer to Montgomery County.

Metropolitan Police said in court papers the Jeep was taken one day before Hamlin’s arrest.

Hamlin has not been charged in Ms. Marcum’s killing, but police identified him as a “suspect.” He currently faces charges of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, theft over $1,000 and unauthorized removal of property. Police are treating the killing as a homicide in connection with a burglary.

“Investigators believe the keys to the vehicle were taken from inside the residence,” a Montgomery County police affidavit said.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy personally argued in November that Hamlin be held on a $1 million bond, saying he was a “critical person” in the case. Mr. McCarthy also said at the time that 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.

“His precise role in the murder of Sue Ann Marcum is under investigation and continues to be under investigation,” Mr. McCarthy said at the time.

Seth Zucker, a McCarthy spokesman, declined to respond to repeated requests for information about the case.

The case was transferred in January from District Court to Circuit Court, where Hamlin’s attorneys argued that his bond be reduced because he only faced charges related to the vehicle theft. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Durke Thompson reduced his bond to $50,000.

Ms. 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 Ms. 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.”

• Matthew Cella can be reached at mcella@washingtontimes.com.

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