Suspect in 2019 Crystal City workplace shooting claims pain meds withheld, statement coerced

A convicted murderer charged with shooting his ex-girlfriend in her Crystal City, Virginia, office in August 2019 says his constitutional rights were violated when detectives withheld pain medicine until after he answered their questions.

The lawyer for Mumeet Muhammad wants a judge to suppress a portion of what his client told detectives, saying the statement was coerced.

Muhammad allegedly forced his way into the woman’s office in the 1500 block of Crystal Drive, and assaulted and shot her, before he was shot by police on Aug. 28, 2019.

Muhammad is scheduled to go on trial April 5 in Arlington County Circuit Court. He was indicted on five counts in September 2020: aggravated malicious wounding; use of a firearm in commission of a felony, second offense; possession of a firearm by a felon; and two counts of simple abduction.

After confronting and shooting his ex-girlfriend, on Aug. 28, police shot Muhammad in the abdomen and left arm. Nine days later, Muhammad was transported to the Arlington County Police Department for interrogation.

Muhammad repeatedly told detectives he had been without his pain medication for approximately 30 hours.

“I’m in excruciating pain right now. I’m in so much pain right now,” he said during the interrogation, which began near midnight.

“We got your prescriptions and later they’ll explain to you how that works. But all that is going to go with you and you’ll be able to at some point get the meds,” said one detective, according to the motion filed by defense attorney Mark Thrash.

Muhammad described to detectives the pain he was undergoing from surgery, “where they took half my intestines out.”

According to the defense motion, Muhammad said: “‘I’m in pain right now. I just want to get rid of this pain.’ The detectives then proceeded to interrogate the defendant for approximately 2.5 hours.”

Thrash said his client’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process were both violated.

“The detectives in this matter were aware of the defendant’s injuries and were made aware of his lack of pain medication for approximately 30 hours. The defendant repeatedly complained of being in ‘excruciating pain,’ and yet, despite those complaints, the detectives made no effort to alleviate the defendant’s suffering. Instead they hung the promise of pain relief in front of him as reward for speaking with them,” wrote Thrash.

Thrash did not return a WTOP request for information about the content of the statement his client made to detectives. The judge has not set a date to consider the motion to suppress Muhammad’s statement.

In 1992, Muhammad, who was then known as Tonie Macklin, was convicted of murdering a man in Arlington and was sentenced to 37 years in prison. He was released on mandatory parole in 2017, according to the Virginia Parole Board.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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