3 charged in Capitol Hill robbery ordered held without bond - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

3 charged in Capitol Hill robbery ordered held without bond

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(Courtroom sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.) (Courtroom sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.)
(Courtroom sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.) (Courtroom sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.)
Thomas "TC" Maslin (left) Thomas "TC" Maslin (left)
Thomas "TC" Maslin Thomas "TC" Maslin
Thomas "TC" Maslin Thomas "TC" Maslin

The three men charged in the violent smartphone robbery on Capitol Hill this summer have been ordered held without bond.

Sunny Kuti, Tommy Branch and Michael Moore are already facing charges in another violent robbery in Adams Morgan that same night in mid-August.

Kuti is a minor, but is being charged as an adult. Investigators say co-defendants Moore and Branch have confessed to the attack on Capitol Hill.

Thomas "TC" Maslin was savagely beaten and robbed after midnight near Eastern Market on August 18. He was walking home alone from a night out with friends after a Nationals game.

"I'm just mostly relieved to know that I know exactly where they are right now," Maslin's wife, Abigail, says of the men now in custody. "And that other people will be safe. There are too many instances of this happening in our neighborhood and other neighborhoods in D.C. and it's absolutely atrocious."

According to court records, TC Maslin is blinded in one eye, has had four brain surgeries and cannot walk or feed himself.

"He has certainly surpassed every expectation that was set for him from the beginning," Abigail tells us. "But he has a really, really long way to go."

According to court documents, investigators caught a break in their case last Friday when a tipster identified Tommy Branch as the owner of a gray car seen in surveillance video taken soon after the attack on Maslin. Police say the men in the car were using Maslin's credit card.

Not long afterward, Branch, Moore and Kuti were arrested after allegedly robbing and beating three young men in an alley near Adams Morgan.

In their possession, according to investigators, was an iPhone. Not theirs. Not the victims.

But it wasn't until this week, according to court records, that detectives went back to the Adams Morgan case file, got a search warrant and found out the phone belonged to TC Maslin. A photo of the couple's young son was apparently found on the home screen.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is defending the actions of her detectives. In a news release and later over the phone, she explained that when her officers found Maslin's phone, it was dead and its SIM card missing.

At that moment, she says police didn't even know he was a crime victim.

Maslin was found unconscious on a neighbor's doorstep later that morning.

Chief Lanier says it is standard procedure for her investigators to try to power up and identify cell phones that are found and suspected of being stolen. In this case, that didn't happen until this week.

Statement from Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier Regarding Eastern Market Armed Robbery in the 700 Block of North Carolina Ave, SE:

"Reports that MPD failed to try and track Mr. Maslin's phone are inaccurate. The day Mr. Maslin was found and identified, we spoke with his wife and obtained the information necessary to track his cell phone. The phone could not be tracked because the battery was dead and the SIM Card had been removed. In addition, the detectives continued to pursue that information by subpoena to obtain additional records from the service provider."

"Detectives assigned to this case have diligently pursued several leads from the morning Mr. Maslin was found. It was a combination of multiple items of evidence; i.e., video, credit card records, interviews, and the phone recovery that lead to this arrests. None of those items alone would have been sufficient for an arrest."

"This case is one that is typically the most difficult to solve; no witnesses, no physical evidence on the scene, and no ability to interview the victim to gain additional information. I am thankful that we brought this case to closure."

Statement from Abigail Maslin

The news of tonight's arrests brings great relief to my family. We are indebted to the hard work of DC detectives and police. They have worked tirelessly since August 18th to bring justice to this case and ensure safety for all citizens of the District. As a team they have displayed incredible professionalism, empathy, and courage. While we are greatly relieved that the justice process is unfolding, the effects of this senseless act have left an indelible mark on our lives. TC's recovery will be long, arduous, and uncertain. He has suffered in unthinkable ways as a result of the actions of these young men. It is our deepest hope that this incident will serve as a reminder to all people in the community that it is our social responsibility to look out for one another, to be alert to suspicious situations, and to keep our eyes and ears open for information that may assist in providing justice.

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