Defendant’s Actions Enabled Murder, Prosecutor Says

The prosecution delivered their opening arguments in the trial of a defendant who allegedly “allowed Turner to kill, assault, and destroy property.” 

Ronnika Jennings, 44, is charged with first-degree murder while armed, obstruction of justice and conspiracy in connection with the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Andrew McPhatter on March 5, 2017, on the 3500 block of Wheeler Road, SE. 

According to court documents, Jennings, 43, is accused of providing information from confidential databases while she worked as a clerk for the 7th district Metropolitan Police Department. She was employed at the department for 14 years.

 Jennings allegedly provided information to Derek Turner, who is accused of shooting McPhatter. 

The prosecutor told jurors that  Jennings would look Turner’s name up in different ways such as using his social and police identification number to make sure she was being thorough. When she finished, she would inform him of any information the police may have regarding what he has been up to.  

“Ms. Jennings’ weapon of choice was that computer terminal,” the prosecutor told the jury.

He also told jurors that Turner’s GPS tracker was modified by Jennings so nothing could ever be linked to him. According to the monitor, Turner was always home.

However, a detective started to sense that something was wrong. The detective could see that Turner had been searched for several times and he was able to learn that Jennings was the one always looking for reports on Turner because you need an ID to enter the database.

The prosecution presented an image of what these reports look like, listing several reasons of how Jennings’ actions were dangerous.

Turner could have located the witnesses if he wanted, the prosecutor said. This is because all of their personal details, including names and addressed are on the database. 

Jennings and Turner also shared various phone calls and text messages that were presented in court. Each time Turner committed a crime, he would immediately contact Jennings.

Two and a half hours after the murder of Devin Hall, Turner called Jennings, asking what the police knew about the suspect. 

Defense attorneys Russell Hairston and Alvin Thomas were not able to deliver opening arguments. 

DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo scheduled the trial to resume on Sept. 21.

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