Murder suspect denied transfer request due to excessive heat

Murder suspect Leon Stewart’s request to transfer to a different wing of D.C. jail due to the excessive heat was denied Thursday.

Stewart, 24, was charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly killing Darnell Lee Richardson, 29, in March. 

Lee’s request was the fourth time last week a D.C. murder suspect has asked to be moved to a different cell due to excessive heat and rising temperatures.

Stewart’s attorney, Monica Douglas said the heat was causing “migraines and headaches.” Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz said the information in the medical records does not support the migraines, she also pointed out the temperature in Stewart’s cell has dropped several degrees from July’s average high of 83.63 degree.

“I know there’s speculation about physical and psychiatric health effects from the heat,” Leibovitz said, stressing that speculation should be treated as such.

Douglas rebutted Leibovitz’s argument, saying that Stewart, 24, is on medication and the heat has a very real effect on his health

“I don’t think it’s speculation. People on these meds are at higher risk of heat-related illness,” she said. Douglas also pointed out the temperature monitored by the jail’s thermometer system doesn’t account for the humidity. She continued to press for Stewart’s transfer to the Jail’s CTF wing.

Leibovitz said Stewart “happens to be in a unit where temperature has been reduced successfully” adding “there are many more prisoners with serious issues that warrant transfer. Moving to a cell that is one degree cooler won’t change anything.”

A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 2. Stewart has been held since his arrest on May 18. 



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