Judge finds probable cause, orders Fox 5 break-in suspect held

Police respond after a man was shot by a security guard while trying to break into the lobby of a building housing the offices of WTTG-TV, the local Fox broadcast affiliate in Washington, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — A D.C. judge has found probable cause in the burglary case against the man who was shot by a security guard after kicking his way into the Fox 5 building.

A police detective described George Lee Odemns III trying to gain access to the station on Oct. 22, initially speaking through an intercom. When he was told he couldn’t enter, detective Victor dePeralta said Odemns “donkey-kicked both doors” — locked glass doors leading to a vestibule and the station lobby.

When ordered to stop by two station security guards, Odemns was shot in the chest. He walked into court without assistance on Thursday.

During cross-examination from public defender Lillian Fabela Miller, dePeralta said Odemns was unarmed, and made no threats once he had entered the lobby, but “kept his hands in his pockets,” before being shot.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maryam Adeyloa said Odemns had a history of sending emails, making phone calls and showing up at Fox 5, which is located on Wisconsin Ave. NW.

Adyloa paraphrased from a September 2017 email “that said there’s nothing left but death, mentioned civil war and said ‘don’t make daddy do this.'”

After that, Fox sent Odemns a cease and desist letter, although Fabela Miller said there’s no proof her client received the order to stay away.

Fabella Miller said the September 2017 email wasn’t addressed solely to Fox, but also other news organizations.

Magistrate Judge Heidi Hermann said Odemns’ email “was intended to frighten and would frighten a reasonable person.”

For Odemns to allegedly continue to contact Fox after a cease and desist letter “could rise to the level of stalking.”

Hermann also said she had questions about whether Odemns has “mental health needs that aren’t being met.” His lawyer said Odemns had an upcoming meeting with a psychiatrist.

After finding probable cause, Hermann ordered Odemns held until his next hearing, despite his lack of criminal convictions, “The nature and circumstances of this offense causes me great concern. It’s no small thing to kick through two locked doors to get into a place you’ve been ordered to stay away from.”

The magistrate judge said she could think of no pre-trial security measures — including electronic monitoring — “that could ensure the safety of community.”

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