Johntrell Washington spent about three months last year charged with second-degree murder in the March 2012 shooting of Ricky Summers, whose body was found behind a home in the 2200 block of Terpsichore Street. That charge was refused by prosecutors in July 2013, but Washington was named as a suspect last month in the April 14 shooting death of Raquel Gillard, who was found lying in the road in the 2300 block of Josephine Street.
In the 2012 case, one witness described hearing Washington (who was 15 at the time) threatening to kill the victim before the shooting, and he allegedly told another witness “I’m gonna kill you just like I did Ricky,” as he fled from the shooting scene, according to investigative documents reported on by The Times-Picayune. Washington was arrested in March 2013, about a year after the original shooting on a charge of second-degree murder, but after a handful of court hearings on various motions, prosecutors refused the charge on July 17, court documents show.
Update, 3 p.m. Friday: The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office issued the following statement on the 2013 case Friday afternoon:
“The case against Johntrell Washington for the murder of Ricky Summers was refused in July of last year. For the District Attorney’s office to institute prosecution in any case, the office must possess evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the criminal act for which he is charged. If we do not possess such evidence, then we will not charge him simply for the sake of doing so.
The Summers murder exemplifies the need for witness cooperation and the need for every citizen to get involved in our criminal justice system. Until witnesses are willing to come forward, tell us what they know, and assist us in getting the bad guys out of the neighborhoods, violent criminals will continue to wreak havoc on our streets and will continue to perpetrate mayhem with impunity in this great city.”
Last month, after Gillard was found shot to death, 17-year-old Washington was named as a suspect a few weeks later. No motive was ever named in her killing, but officials warned the public that Washington should be considered “armed and dangerous.”
Gang unit detectives found Washington around 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2300 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard, according to NOPD spokesman Officer Frank Robertson III. Police set up a perimeter around the area and arrested him without incident, and he was interviewed by homicide detectives before being jailed, Robertson said.
Washington is charged with second-degree murder, jail records show.