Two teenage brothers from Mount Vernon have been indicted for murder in the July 29 murder of Al-Rahn Powell, 18. The shooting shocked the Del Ray community because it happened in broad daylight on the neighborhood’s main street — Mount Vernon Avenue. Powell and another teenager who was shot that day were taken by helicopter to the Washington Hospital Center, where Powell clung to life for several days. After his death, the charges against Marquis Byrd,16, and Malik Byrd, 14, were upgraded from malicious wounding to murder. The other victim has been released from the hospital and is recovering.
Court documents show that both Byrd brothers listed a home address in the 8200 block of Russell Road in Mount Vernon. They will both face trial as adults in circuit court. The brothers are currently being held without bond in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home. Police say that an argument between the four teenagers on a sunny Saturday afternoon escalated into a violent shouting match. One of the suspects allegedly pulled out a gun and began firing. Two of the teenagers were seriously injured, and a stray bullet pierced the window of a nearby barbershop.
“Tensions between the family of the victim and the family of the accused are running very high,” wrote Judge Constance Frogale in an Aug. 11 court filing. “This court was advised earlier today to make extra provision for security in the courtroom for this reason.”
Judge Frogale ordered that the certification hearing in the Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic relations court be closed to the public to ensure safety and prevent what defense attorneys in the case argued was a “chilling effect” on potential witnesses. The judge’s written ruling, which is now part of the public record in circuit court, provides insight into a possible motivation behind the crime.
“Immediately before this hearing, this court conducted an advisement of another juvenile who was alleged to have committed Assault & Battery on Michael Byrd, one of the brothers of Malik and Marquis Byrd,” Frogale wrote. “This was somehow connected to the ongoing tension arising from these incidents.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph said that a trial date for both brothers will likely be set on Sept. 14.
“At this point, it’s likely that they will be tried separately,” Sengel said.