Indictment Charges Maryland Man in a 2022 Pre-Meditated Double Murder and Assault in SE Washington

Indictment Charges Maryland Man in a 2022 Pre-Meditated Double Murder and Assault in SE Washington

            WASHINGTON –Amarii Fontanelle, 20, of Bowie, Md, was charged by indictment yesterday in the October 2022 killings of Reginald Cooper, Jr. and Davonte Berkley, and the non-fatal shooting of Christian Murray that occurred in Southeast Washington D.C., announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and Acting Chief Pamela Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            The indictment charges Fontanelle with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder while armed, one count of assault with the intent to kill while armed, one count of aggravated assault while armed, and other firearms-related charges. 

            On Oct. 17, 2022, Cooper and Berkley, both 19 and residents of Maryland, drove to 1307 Congress St., SE. Fontanelle greeted them with handshakes, then led them into the house where Fontanelle’s associates were waiting in a stairwell. About two minutes after entering the building, video surveillance footage captured images of muzzle fire coming from Fontanelle.           

            Seconds after the shooting, Fontanelle ran from the building followed by his associates.

            Cooper—who sustained eight gunshot wounds to his head, back and torso—was pronounced dead at the scene. Berkley suffered four gunshot wounds to his back, torso, arm, and buttocks and was taken to Medstar Washington Medical Center where he was pronounced dead three hours later. Murray, a resident of the District who was also at the scene of the slayings, sustained a gunshot wound to his leg that shattered the bone. Murray underwent surgery at Medstar and was hospitalized for a week.

            Fontanelle was identified using still photos from video surveillance footage.  He was arrested on Jan. 12, 2023.

            Trial is scheduled for Oct. 7, 2024, before the Honorable Maribeth Raffinan in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Fontanelle is being held without bond pending trial.  

            This case is being investigated by members of the Major Case Squad of the Homicide Division of the MPD.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marybeth Manfreda.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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