Judge finds probable cause to hold suspect in death of Antonio Bassett


Judge Lynn Leibovitz has found probable cause that Chad Hawthorne, arrested last month for the murder of Antonio Bassett, committed second-degree murder while armed.

Leibovitz also declared Hawthorne a danger to society, and ordered him imprisoned without bail.

At a preliminary hearing, Hawthorne’s attorney called upon the detective in charge of the case to testify in front of the defense, the prosecution, and the judge.

According to the detective, at least four people were in a room in an apartment complex on the 3900 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE. when the victim, Bassett, was shot and killed. One witness claims to have been in the bathroom when the sound of the shot rang out, and the other claims to have seen Hawthorne run out of the room following the shot. While testimonies suggest Bassett had recently stolen from Hawthorne, neither of the witnesses have confirmed seeing the suspect pull the trigger, seeing the suspect with a pistol, or hearing an argument.

Some controversy arose when the detective was questioned about the cameras corroborating the witnesses’ testimonies. One camera was able to catch the witnesses and their actions following the shooting, including a 911 call to the police, while another camera was able catch some activity outside of the apartment where Bassett was found. This activity did not include Hawthorne running out of the room.

Overall, the detective gave vague answers to the defense, telling the attorney to look back at the written statement for details.

The hearing ended with the prosecution questioning the detective about probable cause for murder. While it could be argued the cameras did not catch Hawthorne running out of the room, there were nearby exits that may have allowed Hawthorne to leave without triggering the motion detectors on the cameras, according to the prosecution. This, along with self-incriminating statements made by the suspect and previous convictions, led Leibovitz to find probable cause and “a clear case of dangerousness.”

Hawthorne’s next court appearance will be on Sept. 12.

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