Co-Defendants Enter Not Guilty Plea in Homicide of  13-Year-Old Boy

On Sept. 30, co-defendants on track for a 2024 trial were scheduled for a hearing to discuss DNA evidence in the case. 

Koran Jackson, 22; Reginald Steele, 23; Tyiion Kyree Freeman, Stephen Nelson, 21; and Aaron Dequan Brown,26, are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, assault with the intent to kill while armed, murder in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a license, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in connection to the shooting of 13-year-old Malachi Lukes.

Jackson and Brown are also charged with tampering with evidence and possession of an unregistered firearm or destructive device. Nelson is also charged with being an accessory after the fact while armed.

DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt also arraigned the five defendants Friday. All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

During the hearing, counsel also discussed DNA testing. The prosecution is expected to receive all DNA testing back towards the end of October. 

The defense requested additional evidence and suggested waiting longer to give the prosecution more time to have it all available. 

A hearing on Dec. 9 to discuss the results and whether the defense will test DNA independently.  

Prior to the start of the hearing, Judge Brandt addressed the courtroom’s robust security, namely the increased number of marshals, attributing it to a “security concern” with having all five defendants in one hearing.

On the 600 Block of Rhode Island Avenue, NW where the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) found Lukes lying in an alley not breathing and suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the neck, court documents state. 

Police also found another minor victim within the area suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. According to an autopsy report, a bullet entered Lukes’ left torso and pierced the lower left lung and the heart’s pulmonary artery. 

According to court documents, the defendants were involved in the “3500” and “Really Ready Gang.” They are located within  Park Morton, Columbia Heights Village, and Rock Creek Church Road. The defendants were allegedly getting revenge for the killing of a fellow gang member in the same area. 

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