Throughout a D.C. Superior Court hearing on Thursday, Steffan Fields, a tall and wiry 21-year-old with a vine-like tattoo winding down his right arm, looked forward without engaging the audience in the third-floor courtroom. So it must have been difficult for the prisoner to get an idea of just who was sitting behind him.

After the proceeding, a court worker explained to an assembled group of Fields’ friends and family that the suspect had been wondering who had shown up for his preliminary hearing for a crime where the Gaithersburg resident stands accused of breaking into a Brookland residence of six Catholic University students last month. That incident resulted in a shootout with police that left two alleged cohorts dead on Irving Street NE. An aunt made a list for the court worker to take back to her nephew. It was long: Fields’ people had filled two rows.

The defendant likely needed the moral support. Judge Kimberly Knowles had just informed him that he wouldn’t be moving out of the sometimes chaotic D.C. Jail.

On Feb. 13, prosecutors and police say that Fields, Davon Sealy, and Akeem Jamaal Cavo burst into the off-campus house and pointed guns at the occupants and their friends, ordering them to the floor. After a 911 call was placed, the three suspects were surrounded by Metropolitan Police Department officers. Sealy and Cavo were shot and killed by police during their attempt to escape. Fields was captured. He told cops he and his group had charged into the house looking to rob the “Weedman.” It remains unclear whether the occupants of the house were linked to any drug activity.

Fields’ lawyer, James Whitehead, argued that his client only had “a minimal criminal history” and that he should be transferred to the District’s medium-security Correctional Treatment Facility, where he could more easily accommodate visitors. But the judge said that facility had “limited spots” so Fields will remain at the D.C. Jail.

Messages to Whitehead weren’t returned. The case is scheduled to resume April 7.

Photo by walknboston via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0