During the first day of a murder trial March 2, a defense attorney told the jury about how a conviction would lead to two tragedies, instead of atoning for one.
Dajuan Jones, 19, is charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting 26-year-old Cheyenne Washington on the 4400 block of E Street, SE in July of 2018. Jones is also charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, carrying a pistol without a license with a prior felony, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
“The victim’s death is a tragedy, no question, but convicting a young man of a murder he did not commit would be just as much of a tragedy,” Prescott Loveland, one of Jones’ two defense attorneys, told the jury.
“They arrested a witness to a crime,” Loveland said. “Dajuan Jones did not kill Cheyenne Washington. He did not shoot Cheyenne Washington. He did not even know Cheyenne Washington.”
Loveland said an eyewitness to the crime described someone entirely different than the defendant.
“The eyewitness to this crime described the shooter as heavyset, about 200 pounds, and wearing light blue jeans. Dajuan Jones is slim and was wearing white pants,” Loveland said.
However, the witness’s testimony was not as helpful to the defense’s argument.
There were inconsistencies with statements the witness gave a detective after the murder and statements the witness made during trial.
Apparently, the witness changed his story of the description of the murderer and his position, saying he did in fact see the gun.
The witness previously said that when the shooting occurred, the murderer’s back was facing him and he never saw the gun.
The prosecutions opening relied on surveillance footage that was captured moments before the murder.
“Four seconds, that’s how long it took for the defendant to kill Mr. Washington,” said a prosecutor during her opening statements in the trial.
After admitting into evidence surveillance videos from the bus Jones and Washington were on, minutes before the crime, the prosecutor walked the jury through the video frame-by-frame.
She told the jury that Jones followed Washington onto a bus, and when Washington exited the bus Jones exited as well. She also pointed to Jones’ pocket and said it was possible he was carrying a gun.
“When you follow the evidence, it will lead you to this defendant,” the prosecutor said.
Trial is scheduled to continue on March 3.
This article was written by Lea Gianasso and MiriYam Judd