Defendant pleads not guilty to arson in his own home

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A defendant in a shooting case pleaded not guilty after being arraigned on eight counts before D.C. Superior Court Judge Jennifer Di Toro on June 7.

Robert Crowder, 33, is charged with arson, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, criminal damage to property, unlawful possession of a weapon, endangerment with a firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition for his alleged involvement in a shooting incident that occurred on August 22, 2023 in the 1000 block of 2nd Place, SE. No injuries were reported.

According to court documents, Crowder told 911 that he set his couch on fire and was “trying to save people and stop the violence,” after which he fired the gun.

According to court documents, during police transport, officers found “bags” at the defendant's seat containing a “green, grass-like substance” and a “white, rock-like substance” wrapped in a paper towel that allegedly tested positive for cocaine.

After several mental competency evaluations, Crowder was finally declared competent to stand trial on April 1. He is currently being held at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for inmates with mental health issues.

John Sample, Crowder's defense attorney, entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client to all counts and asserted his constitutional rights, including the right to a speedy trial.

The parties are expected to meet again on June 12 to discuss a settlement offer.

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