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Guilty plea in murder case that created controversy for Pr. George's judge

Ruben Castaneda

An Oxon Hill man has pleaded guilty in a murder case that caused controversy for a Prince George's County judge who released a co-defendant to the custody of his mother.

On Thursday, Wysan Longstreet, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Rene R. Belasco. Circuit Court Judge Dwight D. Jackson sentenced Longstreet to 25 years in prison, said State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey.

Belasco, 24, was fatally stabbed inside an Oxon Hill apartment building Feb. 24, 2009. According to police charging documents, Longstreet and Sean M. Sykes, 18 at the time, dragged Belasco out of the building and left him on the sidewalk.

Belasco was taken to Greater Southeast Hospital, where he was pronounced dead of stab wounds to the chest and back, authorities said.

On March 5, 2009, District Court Judge Hassan A. El-Amin became the subject of controversy when he released Sykes to the custody of his mother without requiring him to post bond.

It is unusual for judges in Prince George's to release murder defendants without requiring them to post a bond.

Prosecutors and some police officers criticized El-Amin's decision, saying Sykes was a threat to public safety. In an interview, the judge defended his decision, saying he did not think that Sykes was a flight risk or a threat to public safety.

A little more than a week after El-Amin's decision, a Circuit Court judge ordered Sykes jailed on an unrelated drug charge. The following month, a third judge, from District Court, ordered Sykes jailed in the murder case.

Sykes has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 8.

By Ruben Castaneda  |  June 4, 2010; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  Homicide , Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda , Updates  | Tags: Prince George's County crime, courts  
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