The defense representing a Frederick man accused of a 2019 murder argued Wednesday to have gang-related charges dismissed and other charges heard in separate trials.
Lavonte Darnell Nash, 28, faces 50 charges that include possessing drugs with intent to distribute, firearms violations, participating in a criminal gang, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, online court records show. He is being held without bail.
Nash is accused of shooting and killing Gregory Allen Knight, 30, who was reportedly set to testify against him in a drug case, according to previous News-Post reporting. Police alleged Nash is a member of a criminal gang known as PA-32 and is involved in a drug distribution network.
In Frederick County Circuit Court Wednesday, Judge Scott L. Rolle heard arguments for several motions to dismiss and sever charges. When a charge is severed, it’s set to be heard in a separate trial.
Defense attorney Isabelle Raquin argued in favor of dismissing four gang-related charges, one conspiracy to commit first-degree assault charge, two handgun in a vehicle charges and two possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charges.
Raquin argued some charges alleged the same offense, known as multiplicity, and therefore should be dismissed.
“There’s absolutely no difference,” Raquin said in court. “This is absurd.”
Raquin declined to answer questions from the press after the hearing.
In court, Kyle Kane of the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office asserted the alleged multiplicities did not exist.
Raquin took aim at the way the criminal indictment was written, arguing a count of conspiracy to maintain and promote a criminal organization should be dismissed because the state failed to allege a crime.
The defense attorney also found fault with the time period the indictment covers. Four gang-related charges date back as far as 2011 and up to 2020, and three cocaine-related offenses stem from 2017, while the bulk of the alleged offenses are dated from 2019, online court records indicate. From the prosecution’s perspective, they’re required to prove a criminal organization exists and that there was a pattern of activity, hence the timeline, Kane countered.
Raquin believes some charges should not be part of the murder trial and filed multiple motions to sever clusters of charges. If severed the way the defense wants, there could be six different trials.
Rolle closed the hearing after a little less than three hours of arguments. It is unknown when he will issue a decision on the defense’s motions. A hearing for motions to suppress is set for Oct. 25.