Cases in Upcoming Murder Trial May be Severed

An upcoming murder trial involving three co-defendants may be split into three separate trials in the aftermath of concerns over a material witness’ competence to testify. In light of these issues, a DC Superior Court judge cancelled the trial.

Edward Brown, Steven Robin and Antonio McKenzie are charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 29-year-old Kenneth Poindexter on the 4700 block of Benning Road, SE, on Jan. 18, 2018.

The three defendants are also charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. McKenzie and Brown are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence and obstruction of justice. Brown is also charged with prisoner escape.

Jury selection was set to begin on Sept. 27, but the prosecution recently motioned to continue the upcoming trial. In the motion, the prosecutions states that, on Sept. 22, they day they filed it, the witness told them she sustained a traumatic brain injury due to an assault she allegedly suffered in 2019. She told them she has ongoing issues with recalling and recollecting events.

The prosecution went on to state that she is a material witness and that they are not prepared to go to trial without her.

During the Sept. 24 hearing, the prosecution reported their acquisition of over 400 pages of medical records, which they say show that the witness does not have significant memory problems. However, they want an expert neurologist to review the records.

According to court documents, this witness said she knew Robin, but does not believe she would recognize him. Robin’s defense attorney, Kristin McGough, says she has “a good faith basis to ask (the) witness” about a man referred to as “Moe,” who the witness apparently connected to the homicide.

Howard McEachern, Brown’s defense attorney, moved to sever the cases during the hearing. Both McKenzie and Robin’s defense attorneys joined him. Judge Danya Dayson said that if the witness is deemed competent to testify, the defense’s request will be granted.

The next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.