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30-year-old man charged with first-degree murder in attacks on homeless men

Gerald Brevard III was held without bond pending further court proceedings.

WASHINGTON — A 30-year-old D.C. man accused of multiple attacks targeting men experiencing homelessness in D.C. and New York City made his first court appearance Wednesday in the District. Gerald Brevard III was charged with first-degree murder while armed in the March 9 death of 54-year-old Morgan Holmes. 

In a white jumpsuit with a chain wrapped around his waist, Brevard appeared before Superior Court Judge Tanya Jones Bosier one day after he was arrested at a Southeast, D.C gas station. He's accused of attacking Holmes and four other men sleeping on the streets in the District and NYC between March 3-12; one of the New York victims also died. Police say the investigation is ongoing in those cases. 

While the defense asked that Brevard be released under a high-intensity supervision program due to lack of probable cause, Judge Bosier denied the request and ordered that he be held without bond, due to his "escalation in violent crimes." 

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said Brevard was arrested in D.C. multiple times, dating back to 2016, including for an assault on an officer and another assault with a knife. 

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said Brevard also had a history of arrest in Virginia. In 2020, Davis said Brevard was charged with abduction with attempt to defile, burglary and possession of burglary tools. 

The judge also cited the similar attire Brevard was seen wearing in surveillance video after every incident and the .22 caliber casings with a letter "C' on the headstamp left at each scene as probable cause.

The defense argued that there were discrepancies with the suspect description provided by witnesses, said there's no DNA evidence, guilty admission or a firearm tying Brevard to the crimes.

RELATED: 'We got our man' | SE DC resident arrested, charged in 5 shootings of homeless men in DC, NYC

Brevard's father, who could not make it to the hearing, said he believes his son's past shows that the judicial system failed. 

"There were no signs he would be violent," Gerald Brevard Jr. said on a phone call, while offering apologies and condolences to the victims and their families. "I think he needs mental help more than he needs to be criminalized." 

Brevard Jr. said his son had experienced homelessness himself.

Court documents released Wednesday shed light on the timeline of the attacks and offered new details in the case, including the fact that one of the D.C. victims is still hospitalized from his injuries; he was shot around 1:20 a.m. March 8 in the head, face, chest, thigh, buttocks and hand. According to the documents, security cameras in the area of that shooting captured audio of a man screaming “no, no, no” and “please don’t shoot." A few minutes later, Brevard was seen sitting on a curb listening to music on his phone, the documents say. 

"This could all have been avoided had he gotten the help he needed," Brevard Jr. said.

RELATED: 'I'm glad it's over' | Relative says suspect in attack on homeless men suffered from mental illness for many years

RELATED: Suspect arrested for DC, NYC shootings targeting homeless people, police say

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