Prosecutors drop murder charges against 1 teen for Bethesda stabbing, citing new evidence

Citing new evidence, prosecutors have dropped murder charges against one of the three teens accused in the fatal stabbing of a man at a Bethesda shopping center a few days before Christmas.

Blaise Uchemadu, 18, was initially charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy alongside two other teens in the killing of 33-year-old Lawrence Richmond Wilson in a stairwell outside the Target off Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda on Dec. 20.

“During the investigation into this matter, evidence came to light suggesting no criminal culpability” on behalf of Uchemadu, Lauren DeMarco, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, told WTOP in a statement.

“Once that information was established, the charges were dismissed,” DeMarco said.



The Walt Whitman High School student newspaper The Black & White was the first to report charges had been dropped against Uchemadu after prosecutors had not indicted him by a Feb. 25 deadline.

Uchemadu had been held without bond since his December arrest.

The two other teens — Antonio Lawrence, 16, and Joshua Wright, 17 — are facing charges as adults. They were indicted on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit an armed robbery. Trials for both teens have been set for September.

In charging documents from the time of the fatal stabbing, prosecutors initially said the teens met up with Wilson to buy marijuana, but robbed and stabbed him instead.

“The police eventually reviewed the videos showing this entrance to the stairwell and were able to confirm what Blaise had told them: that he was not involved in anything that happened down there in terms of the victim,” Laura Kelsey Rhodes, one of Uchemadu’s attorneys, told The Black & White newspaper.

“By then, the police had confirmed that his social media, texts or anything else didn’t show any planning or any involvement in what the two others did or may have done that evening,” Rhodes said.

“Uchemadu was not allowed to return to Whitman due to the charges,” Rhodes added. Additionally, “the former senior was not given schooling for the two months he spent at the detention facility.”

Court records show that Uchemadu filed for the case’s expungement from his record on March 8, according to The Black & White.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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