Attorneys Discuss DNA Testing, Change in Counsel Ahead of Murder Trial

Parties in a murder case discussed DNA testing and a change in defense counsel during a recent hearing as they prepare to go to trial later this year.

Co-defendants Maurice Johnson and Jermaine Harris are indicted on charges including first-degree murder while armed in connection with the shooting of 38-year-old Lamar Walters outside a bodega on the 2400 block of Franklin Street, NE. The homicide took place on Jan. 6, 2020. Johnson, 23, and Harris, 20, were arrested the following April.

During the two’s most recent hearing on May 9, Jason Clark and Thomas Key were appointed to replace Jon Norris as Johnson’s defense counsel. DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt scheduled a hearing to discuss DNA testing for June 17.

Harris intends to waive his right to independent DNA testing under the Innocence Protection Act. His presence is expected to be waived for the upcoming hearing.

Judge Brandt said the trial is set to begin towards the end of November. Parties agreed to potentially postpone opening arguments to Dec. 5.

Both parties said they plan to call expert witnesses outside Washington. Expert notice is due by July 29, which is also the due date for any additional defense motions.