Probable Cause Ruling for 3 Teen Murder Defendants Expected Next Week

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A decision on whether a murder case has enough evidence to go to trial came nearer as parties delivered their closing arguments on March 8.

Co-defendants Trey Prillerman, 16, Nelfy Hernandez, 17, and Deandre Levy, 19, are charged with first-degree murder while armed for their alleged roles in the fatal shooting of 1- year-old Taijhon Wyatt, Jr on Aug. 10, 2020.

The three are accused of shooting blindly into a group of juveniles from the inside of a vehicle on the 5500 block of 9th Street, NW. 

“This has to be fairly characterized as one of the thinnest homicide charges ever brought,” said Prillerman’s attorney, Alvin Thomas

A Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detective completed his testimony from the last hearing, explaining that phone location data and cell phone records picked up Prillerman’s phone on cell towers in the neighborhood at the time of the homicide. However, Thomas argued that there was “no evidence Mr. Prillerman had the phone on him that day.” 

The detective said that the MPD hopes to complete DNA testing from the suspected car, though he “doesn’t know the stage of testing, or if swabs have been obtained from the defendants.” 

The detective also said that, at this current time, no physical evidence has tied any of the three defendants to the shooting. There has also been no identification of them at the scene of the crime besides testimony from one of the witnesses. 

This witness identified the three defendants as being on the scene of the crime. However, defense attorneys called into question the reliability of the witness’s statements. 

Defense attorney Elizabeth Weller said that she believes the witness may simply be changing the story at will to reduce charges the witness is currently facing. 

“This whole case rises and falls on the credibility of someone who’s a stone cold liar; lying to avoid responsibility for his own misdeeds,” Weller said.  

Due to time constraints, the proceeding did not finish.

Judge Danya Dayson scheduled the hearing to continue on March 19. She is expected to make her finding at that time.

Brennan Fiske wrote this article.

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