Counsel Delivers Closing Arguments in 2010 Murder Trial

Derrick Harris

During closing arguments in a murder trial, the prosecution argued the decedent died because he was labeled a “snitch.” Meanwhile, the defense argued the prosecution’s witnesses weren’t credible.

Anthony Waters is charged with first-degree murder while armed and related gun charges for the shooting death of 37-year-old Derrick Harris on the 2600 block of Birney Place, SE in 2010.

According to the prosecution’s theory, the motive behind Harris’ death dates back to 1998 when he testified against his best friend in a murder trial. Apparently, Harris, Waters, 51, and the individual in the case were a close group from the same neighborhood: Parkchester.

The prosecution explained that because Harris testified against the friend he was labeled a “snitch” and it wasn’t safe for him in the neighborhood. According to the prosecution, Harris stayed away from Parkchester until the day of his murder. Apparently, Waters saw Harris in the neighborhood, approached him and punched Harris in the face saying, “I bet not see you when I get back or I’m going to kill you.”

Multiple witnesses testified that shortly after the altercation, they saw Waters, who was wearing a ski mask, approach Harris and open fire. One witness, who was on the same street when the shooting occurred, said the gun was a silver revolver, which is consistent with the ballistics evidence in the case because shell casings were not found on the scene. 

The defense argued that various eyewitnesses are flawed and “lack credibility.” According to defense attorney Joseph Caleb, one of the eyewitnesses, who saw the shooting from her apartment and identified Waters as the shooter, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Caleb told the jury that, in the weeks leading up to the murder, the witness heard voices and said she saw green people. Caleb told the jury that the witness’s diagnosis is an “unfortunate reality that makes her an unreliable witness.”

Furthermore, the same eyewitness allegedly saw Waters punch Harris and said an unnamed individual broke up the fight. However, the individual testified in court that there was no fight and that he didn’t break it up.

The defense also said witnesses gave different timelines of the murder. One witness said the murder occurred in the early afternoon while another witness said the shooting occurred at 6 p.m. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Harris was shot and killed at 9:05 p.m.

The defense also sought to argue against the prosecution’s motive in the case. According to Caleb, Harris wasn’t labeled “hot” or a “snitch” because other people from the neighborhood testified in the 1998 murder case and didn’t leave the area.

The jury began deliberating on Oct. 25.