The man charged in the slaying of an AU graduate on board a red-line metro train has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation pending his trial.
18-year-old Jasper Spires appeared in court on Friday for two separate hearings with different judges for a robbery case and for the alleged murder of 24-year-old Kevin Sutherland. Sutherland was stabbed to death on board a metro car pulling into the NoMa-Gallaudet station on July 4. Authorities believe that Spires, while attempting to rob Sutherland of his phone, stabbed the Connecticut native more than thirty times while horrified passengers looked on. Witnesses also reported that after robbing two other passengers on the train, Spires proceeded to kick and punch Sutherland before fleeing the scene. Spires was arrested and charged with the murder on July 7.
In court, Spires’ behavior drew questions from the judge as to the defendant’s mental health. According to WUSA9, Spires pranced into the courtroom smiling, and proceeded to laugh and interrupt the judge throughout the hearing. This behavior was reminiscent of Spires’ trial the previous week for an assault he had been charged with on July 2, The Washington Post reported. Spires had acted agitated and interrupted the judge overseeing the hearing with questions as to why he was in the courtroom. Citing Spires’ behavior, Judge Robert E. Morin ordered that the 18-year-old undergo a psychological evaluation.
According to WJLA, Spires’ attorney Antoini Jones argued that his client was misidentified by witnesses looking at a photo lineup. Jones said Spires’ behavior in court was understandable. “He’s an 18-year-old looking at a murder that we believe he didn’t commit” Jones said according to WUSA9. “That causes almost anyone to be nervous.”
Spires’ next hearing is scheduled for August 28 to review the mental evaluation.