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Jasper Spires’ hair has grown since he last appeared in court on July 24. But the 18-year-old, who allegedly killed Kevin Sutherland on the Metro’s Red Line—on Independence Day—was still smiling sporadically this morning as he sat before Judge Robert Morin and attorneys.
At today’s hearing, Morin ordered Spires to receive a full mental-competency evaluation after an initial clinical assessment in late July came back as inconclusive. The judge also denied a request by Antoini Jones, Spires’ attorney, for his client to receive the exam as an outpatient procedure at an area hospital. Spires will stay in jail and tentatively return to D.C. Superior Court on Oct. 9.
“My hopes are that the facts that come out show he is not found guilty, because I believe he was not the culprit in this case,” Jones said outside the courtroom in a brief interview with City Desk. The attorney added that whether Spires has “separate mental-health issues” is “another question.”
Spires is accused of stabbing the 24-year-old Sutherland—a graduate of American University—multiple times between the Rhode Island Avenue and NoMa-Galludet Metro stations while Sutherland was heading to meet with friends for July 4 festivities. Surveillance videos presented at Spires’ last hearing showed a man running from the NoMa station after he had left a backpack in a trashcan; authorities later found the backpack containing camouflage pants that matched Spires’ DNA as well as an “ID/healthcare card belonging to Jasper Spires.” A knife covered with Sutherland’s blood was also found at the scene. He suffered upwards of 30 stab wounds.
Court documents indicate that Spires had “no fixed address” on Jul. 6, when he was arrested. He had been arrested for the first time on July 2 for a misdemeanor assault—allegedly attempting to rob a man in Friendship Heights. Spires had no prior criminal record and was released on July 3.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery