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The Journal Gazette

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:00 am

Murder suspect's release comes with conditions

Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man charged with murder and ordered released from jail by an Allen County judge because, under state law, too much time had passed without him being brought to trial now has several court-imposed conditions on his release.

Hozyfa H. Sultan, 25, arrested in November 2015 and charged with fatally shooting Brandon Washington, 20, at 5111 Plaza Drive on Oct. 22, 2015, was ordered released Friday by Allen Superior Court Judge John F. Surbeck.

On Monday, Surbeck also ordered Sultan to stay away from a 20- or 21-year-old male victim who is a witness in that case, according to court documents. He had ordered a warrant for the witness’ arrest in July for contempt of court.

The warrant was issued after the witness failed to appear for a legal proceeding in the shooting case.

Surbeck on Monday also ordered Sultan be supervised by Allen County Pretrial Services. That typically means periodic check-ins with the agency. 

Sultan was picked up in Atlanta 14 days after the incident in which Washington was fatally shot and another man was wounded.

The wounded man was questioned by police in the hospital and initially said he did not know who shot him. He later told police Sultan was the shooter and had been afraid to come forward.

Washington’s brother, Larry Devon Washington Jr., 21, and 16-year-old Anastasia LaShawn Butler, a student at South Side High School, were found shot to death inside a sport utility vehicle in the 900 block of East Wayne Street the day after the Plaza Drive shooting. No one has been charged in their deaths.

Prosecutors have said they could not bring the case against Sultan to trial in a timely manner because a key witness was uncooperative.