Prosecution and defense go head to head arguing probable cause in El Toure’s arrest

The man charged with murdering 34-year-old Corrina Mehiel was presented in court Tuesday, for the first time since his arraignment last month.

Tuesday’s detention hearing was devoted to determining probable cause in El Hadji Alpha Madiou Toure’s involvement in fatally stabbing Mehiel in March.

The prosecution called Detective Sergeant Keith Batton to the stand to provide details of the murder discuss Toure’s alleged responsibility in the murder.

While being questioned Batton, who supervised the detectives placed on Mehiel’s case, went through the information provided in Toure’s arrest warrant and provided insight on pieces of the investigation that were left out.

As mentioned in the warrant, officers responded to Mehiel’s apartment on 600 block of 14th St., NE on reports of an unconscious woman. Upon their arrival, police found Mehiel’s lifeless body with apparent stab wounds.

Upon further investigation, Batton pointed out that police found Metrobus surveillance footage from March 20, the day police believe Mehiel was murdered. The footage showed Mehiel loading the trunk of her car in preparation for her journey to her home in North Carolina.

Other surveillance footage from the neighborhood, showed a black male wearing a black shirt, black backpack and ripped light colored jeans heading in the direction of Mehiel’s apartment building.

Almost two hours later, a person in ripped light colored jeans is seen driving Mehiel’s car.

While on the stand, Batton noted that the lead detective on the case said that he believed it was a black male driving the car. However, Batton told the court that he was unable to specify the gender or race of the driver, he could only note that the driver was wearing ripped light colored jeans.

Later the same day, the black male as described previously was seen at a 7-Eleven attempting to withdraw money from an ATM using Mehiel’s bandcard.

In previous documents, police reported that the suspect was able to withdraw five-hundred dollars. However, in court Tuesday the prosecution made a correction and said the suspect was unable to withdraw money, though he didn’t explain why.

With regard to Toure, the detective said Toure was constantly accounted for until the day of the alleged murder, March 20.

According to the detective, Toure consistently stayed at a shelter sponsored by the Catholic Charity program until March 20. Toure was also a dependable worker, until March 20 when he didn’t show up for work for an entire week. Toure returned on March 27, they day of his arrest.

After the prosecution finished with his line of questioning, the defense began their cross-examination.

Defense attorney Jacqueline Cadaman asked the defense whether there was forced entry into the apartment, to which Batton said no.

When asked if there were any reports of a struggle or loud noise, Batton replied that there were not any reports other than that of an unconscious woman.

Cadman also asked if the apartment was in disarray when police arrived, to which Batton replied “no, not really.”

The time of death was another uncertainty brought up in Cadman’s cross. According to the detective, police based Mehiel’s time of death on gap of time between Mehiel being seen loading her car and the person in ripped light jeans driving her car. The medical examiner did not rule on the time of death, according to Batton.

Among other things, Batton mentioned that there was reason to believe there was a clean-up of evidence, which could explain why there was so little blood on the scene.

Cadman also tried to establish that there was a lack of tangible evidence that linked her client to the murder. However, her line of questioning was cut short as Judge Leibovitz had another matter to deal with on her docket.

Leibovitz granted a continuance in the case and rescheduled the hearing to continue on April 13.

Toure is being held without bond and is expected back in court Thursday.

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