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Prosecutors won’t ID hammer attack case witnesses

Updated: August 15, 2013 3:04PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors are objecting to a defense request to divulge the names of witnesses they plan to call in the trial of a District of Columbia man accused in a series of random hammer attacks, including a fatal assault, last year.

The U.S. Attorney’s office last week identified 15 potential witnesses it plans to call in the case against Michael Davis, 20, who is charged in a fatal attack on a man visiting from Colorado and assaulting several other people in separate attacks. The witnesses are referred to with letters but are not named in a letter sent to defense lawyers last week.

Defense lawyers followed up with a request for the witnesses’ names, contact information and grand jury information. But prosecutors said in a letter dated Thursday that, “at this time,” they won’t provide the requested information because of “safety concerns of witnesses.”

The prosecutors say they will try to make available to defense lawyers witnesses with whom they want to speak. They also turned over to defense lawyers copies of 911 calls, photographs of victims’ injuries, a videotaped interview of Davis and other evidence, according to the letter.

Davis was arrested last year in a series of attacks, including the April killing of Gary Dederichs, a 66-year-old retired nurse visiting from Colorado. Dederichs, who was staying in a private home, was killed as he walked down a street alone. Prosecutors say the attacks were unprovoked.

Davis was recently deemed mentally competent to stand trial, though D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Morin said in an order Monday that the defendant will continue to be evaluated on a recurring basis at St. Elizabeths Hospital. A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30.

Davis is the brother of NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis.

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