Amid Coronavirus Restrictions, Trial Preparations Underway

As the DC Superior Court faces the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the suspension of jury trials, a judge set the trajectory for co-defendants charged in murder and kidnapping cases.

Kurt, 21, and Demonte, 19, Hewitt are charged with second-degree murder while armed in the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Tyshon Perry on May 1, 2018, on the 1300 block of 2nd Street, NE. The defendants are cousins.

The two were charged in this case back in 2018. They were also charged in another felony case along with a third defendant, Kevin Sanders, that year.

In that case, the cousins are charged with armed kidnapping and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. Demonte is also charged with first-degree burglary while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon. Sanders is charged with threats to injure or kidnap a person.

During the Jan. 19 proceedings, Judge Juliet McKenna set the kidnapping case for jury selection and trial in mid-April. One of the prosecutors estimated that the trial would take around three to four days. 

The murder case will then trail the kidnapping case, with defense motions due for submission on the first of June.

In that case, the cousins are also charged with conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, assault with a dangerous weapon and simple assault.

Judge McKenna anticipated that, during the kidnapping trial, some jurors would sit in the jury box and others in the pews to ensure social distancing. The trial is also set to happen in a larger courtroom.

Parties in these cases are scheduled to return to court on March 22.