Judge grants Wilbert Whitaker extended release conditions to attend funeral

A judge will allow murder suspect Wilbert Whitaker, 67, released under certain conditions so he can attend his aunt’s funeral in North Carolina this weekend.

Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin granted Whitaker’s release Wednesday morning. Whitaker is charged with the alleged murder of Leo Hackett, who died of gunshot wounds in April 2016. Whitaker, who has been out of jail and under high-intensity supervision as his case moves forward, now has an extended curfew, which will allow him to travel to North Carolina this weekend.

Prosecutor Katie Earnest objected to the release conditions, saying not only has the defendant already received “generous” conditions on behalf of the government, but also that the defense did not provide proof that the family member, Whitaker’s aunt, has died. The defense did not provide evidence to the contrary. The defense stated, however, that it would not be possible for the defendant to flee in the given situation to begin with because of his GPS tag, but they would provide the court with the address he intends to stay at.

On April 30, police responded to the sounds of gunshots in the 800 block of 21 Street, NE and found Hackett, then 30, with multiple gunshot wounds at 10:45 a.m. Hackett was taken to a hospital where he died. Police arrested Whitaker at the scene and charged him with second-degree murder while armed. DC Police are investigating the crime as a domestic incident, but have not disclosed the relationship between the two men.

Whitaker has a felony status conference on July 15 at 10 a.m.


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