The man charged with the stabbing death of Kevin Sutherland aboard a red-line train on July 4, was found competent to stand trial Friday.
The attorney for Jasper Spires, charged with murder for the brutal death of Sutherland, said after court that his client has received medication leading to the competency finding, and maintained his client’s innocence.
Spires has not been indicted in the case, and the case was continued to Jan. 29 pending further investigation. According to prosecutors, if the government were to make a plea deal the soonest it would occur is winter-time.
“Clearly, we believe the government has problems determining Jasper was the one involved,” Spires’ attorney Antoini Jones said. “However, his family and he, being human beings are so sorry that someone was killed. Clearly that’s horrific–the way Mr. Sutherland was killed, and [neither Spires’] family nor he condones this type of activity. Nonetheless, he maintains his innocence respectfully.”
During court, Jones said his client is “anxious for a resolution.” A judge had previously ordered a full mental observation based on Spires’ behavior in court.
Sutherland’s parents as well as other family and friends were present for Friday’s proceedings.
Friends said seeing Spires is a continuous reminder of the brutal way in which Sutherland was killed.
According to autopsy notes made public in the government’s charging documents, Sutherland had 30-40 stab and cutting wounds on his body, including several deep stabs to his chest and heart, and suffered blunt-force trauma to his head and face and other parts of his body.
“It’s been getting harder every day,” said Kevin Sutherland’s cousin, Anita McBride, of the pain his parent’s feel. “But this was a good news too, now he can stand trial for his crime. We wanted to be sure. I was pleased with that. It won’t bring Kevin back but at least there is a process, a transparent process for justice.”
Sutherland’s former roommate, Abigail Finn, said she was also pleased that the case will move forward, and she plans to continue to attend future proceedings to support Sutherland and his parents.
In a written statement, Sutherland’s parents said they continue to grieve the “senseless” loss of their son.
“We are still trying to understand how such a brutal and heinous attack would happen in broad daylight on the DC Metro with no provocation whatsoever. No explanation will ever bring our son back, but we are determined to understand how this happened and see that Kevin’s murderer is held accountable and prevented from ever harming another innocent soul,” they wrote.
The Sutherland’s also criticized the climbing homicide rate in the district, calling it “unacceptable.”
“A hundred and nineteen other families are mourning their losses with us today- our heart goes out to them….their lives, like ours, will never be the same. We must do more to end this scourge in this city that Kevin loved so much. He would expect nothing else.”