Bail Denied for Deputy Accused of Killing Alexandria Man

An Arlington County sheriff's deputy accused of killing 22-year-old Julian Dawkins was denied bail Tuesday.

Deputy Craig Patterson, a 17-year veteran with the sheriff's office, is facing first-degree murder charges in the May 22 murder of Dawkins.

Investigators say Patterson, who was off-duty at the time, got into a dispute with Dawkins on the corner of Lynnhaven Drive and Evans Lane just after midnight.

"As he left the scene, he was heard by a few witnesses to yell back at Dawkins that he would be back," Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Sengel said.

Patterson then went home and returned to the scene of the argument with his gun, badge and handcuffs, prosecutors said.

At some point during the dispute, Dawkins was shot in the chest. Police said Patterson, 44, stayed on the scene and called 911. Dawkins was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

"[Patterson] should be held responsible for that so I think the judge did the right thing by denying his bond," Dawkins' friend Deidre Powell said.

Sengel said Patterson falsely claimed he fired in self-defense on the 911 call. Patterson had claimed Dawkins threatened him with a knife, but police only found a folded pocketknife in Dawkins's pocket.

"It is what it is. That's all I can say," Dawkins' mother Gwen Pratt-Miller said Tuesday.

However, Patterson's supporters did fill half the courtroom - at one point, 15 Arlington County Sheriff's Office employees stood up in solidarity.

Patterson's ex-wife testified Tuesday, saying she and Patterson "are really good friends." She said he came to her house the day after the shooting with "tears streaming down his face."

The judge however, decided the case against Patterson is too strong to set him free.

Prosecutors argued there was no way Dawkins could have presented the knife in a threatening manner given the way investigators found him.

Dawkins was a graduate of T.C. Williams High School and worked as a driver for PBS. The network's Gwen Ifill wrote that he "worked at the PBS NewsHour as a driver -- shuttling people, tapes and mail back and forth between our two office buildings with a bright smile for everyone."

Patterson has been placed on unpaid leave.

During Friday's court appearance, Patterson's public defender asked to be removed from the case due to a conflict of interest. He next appears in court on June 7, with his newly appointed private attorney. 

Stay with NBCWashington.com for more on this developing story.


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