Suspect charged in December fatal Gaithersburg hit-and-run -- Gazette.Net


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This story has been corrected. An explanation follows the story. This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. March 12.

Police have made an arrest in a vehicle-related homicide that took place on Dec. 5 in Gaithersburg, killing a Potomac man and injuring his brother.

Damascus resident Fernando Josue Valenzuela, 20, was arrested March 7 and charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder for the December incident.

On Friday, Montgomery County District Administrative Judge Eugene Wolfe ordered that Valenzuela be held without bond.

In asking for the no-bond ruling, Assistant State’s Attorney Bryan Roslund said that Valenzuela displayed behavior that was an “extreme act in any circumstance,” and that Valenzuela fled the scene of the crime.

A dozen of Valenzuela’s family members and friends attended the hearing.

In an interview after the hearing, Andrew Jezic, Valenzuela’s attorney, called the case “greatly overcharged.”

“He’s innocent of any murder charges,” Jezic said. Later, he added: “This is not a first-degree murder case. This is not a second-degree murder case. The only charge should be manslaughter.”

Valenzuela works in construction with his father and at Chipotle, Jezic said.

“He’s a hardworking kid,” he said.

According to charging documents, the Genies brothers met Valenzuela at a 7-11 in Damascus, sometime just before midnight on Dec. 4. The brothers didn’t know Valenzuela but asked for a ride. Once they arrived in Gaithersburg, they exited the car. Valenzuela became angry because they didn’t pay him for the ride, according to the documents.

Two witnesses in the car said that Valenzuela drove around Gaithersburg engaging in a “stalking” behavior of the brothers.

Shortly thereafter, he saw them walking down West Diamond Avenue, according to the documents.

“According to witnesses, the vehicle, which was traveling in lane one (far left lane) and coming from behind the witnesses, accelerates and swerves sharply to the right and strikes James and Billy Genies as they were walking across the driveway apron of The Avalon School,” the documents said.

Jezic said that Valenzuela had meant to scare the brothers but lost control of the car.

Billie Jay Genies, 34, of Potomac, was killed in the incident. Police say Valenzuela allegedly ran him over with his car. Genies’ brother, James, 35, of Potomac was also injured in the incident.

Police searched for the car and found it later that day, unoccupied and close to the accident scene.

Staff Writer St. John Barned-Smith contributed to this story

scarignan@gazette.net

An earlier version of this story had an incorrect title for Judge Eugene Wolfe.