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The government called its last witness this morning in its case against Vasile Graure, the man accused of setting fire to Glover Park strip club Good Guys last year. After listening to the testimony of MPD detective Frank Molina, who detailed the police’s procedures used to identify the suspect, the jury filed out. Then, the defense moved to have as many as eight of the charges against Graure dropped. Among other charges—-arson, mayhem, burglary—-Graure is charged with eight counts of assault with intent to kill.
Defense lawyer Andrew Ferguson argued that several of the eight individuals named in the case were “misnamed and misidentified,” noting that a few never appeared to testify in front of the jury, some were unable to be located by the defense, and one, Jessica Schaeffer, was referred to in court almost exclusively by her stripper name, “Golden.” Ferguson also argued that the charge of “intent to kill” the eight individuals named had no precedent in District of Columbia arson cases—-and that alighting a building did not equate to an intent to kill specific individuals.
Judge Robert Richter called the argument “silly” and said it could be argued that the people inside the strip club and close to the blaze were within a reasonable “zone of danger.” Richter denied the defense’s motion to have the charges dropped, leaving the jury to decide whether “pouring gasoline on someone and lighting them on fire” equated to an intent to kill.