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Police had iPhone belonging to beating victim Thomas Maslin of Washington,D.C., for weeks but failed to trace it

6:06 PM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- A judge ordered three young men held without bail in the near-fatal beating of a young father on Capitol Hill.

Turns out police had a key piece of evidence in the attack on T.C.Maslin for weeks, but never traced it. They allegedly found Maslin's iPhone after arresting the same three men in an armed robbery in Adams Morgan the same night Maslin was beaten nearly to death on Capitol Hill.

But investigators never turned on the phone until weeks later, when a tipster recognized one of the suspects' white Hyundai from surveillance video.

When police finally searched it, they found pictures of Maslin's 22- month-old son and messages to his wife.

In a statement issued Thursday, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said: "... The day Mr. Maslin was found and identified, we spoke with his wife and obtained the information necessary to track his cell phone. The phone could not be tracked because the battery was dead and the SIM Card had been removed. ... detectives continued to pursue that information by subpoena to obtain additional records from the service provider.... It was a combination of multiple items of evidence; i.e., video, credit card records, interviews, and the phone recovery that lead to this arrests..."
  
The three suspects are Sunny Kuti, 17, Michael Moore, 18, and Tommy Branch, 21. They entered not guilty pleas. In court documents, investigators say Kuti admitted to slamming Maslin in the back of the head with a "fake 'em out" BB gun. Moore allegedly admitted to punching Maslin to the ground.

The court documents say that Maslin is still in the hospital, blind in one eye,  with no sensation on the right side of his body, unable to walk or feed himself.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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