Defense Attacks Witnesses’ Credibility in 2013 Homicide Case

On June 1, prosecutors called two eyewitnesses and an alleged victim to testify in a 2013 homicide trial. 

Victor Coley, 60, is charged with first-degree murder while armed premeditated, assault with intent to kill, aggravated assault knowingly while armed, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for his alleged involvement in a shooting that left four individuals injured on Nov. 6, 2013, on the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue, NE. 

He was previously convicted of several counts of assault with intent to kill in 2015 and sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison.

Then on Dec. 3, 2021, 65-year-old Dennis Foster, one of the victims from the shooting, succumbed to his injuries prompting prosecutors to charge Coley with murder.

Prosecutors brought forth first-degree murder charges in 2022.

Prosecutors asked a retired police officer to describe her recollection of the shooting. She said she was driving by the scene when she heard gunfire and saw a victim lying on the ground.

She then followed the suspect, concerned he might attempt to dispose of his gun.

She said she saw him enter an apartment building on the 3500 block of Clay Place, NE, and as she was calling dispatch from her car across the street, she saw the defendant walk out of the building wearing a different colored hoodie from what he was wearing at the time of the shooting. 

During cross examination, she said that she could only see the back of the shooter’s hoodie. She also admitted she didn’t know what was happening inside of the apartment building the defendant allegedly entered.

A second witness said he was sitting outside of a Payless Shoe store with Foster when he was shot in the back of the head and in the chest. However, he was unable to see the shooter as he was attempting to get away and seek medical assistance.  

According to the witness, he spent six weeks in a hospital receiving care. Due to the shooting, he began to regularly experience migraines, and to this day, has the bullet fragments in his chest.

Prosecutors presented the witness’ clothing showing bullet holes and blood stains where he was shot. 

The witness said it felt like he was hit with a bat and there was a burning sensation in his chest shortly before fainting in a store. 

A third prosecution witness said he was working at the Payless Shoe store when he heard two gunshots and saw two men running toward the liquor store across the street. 

The witness allegedly saw Coley running after one of the victims with a gun in his hand. 

But under cross examination, he admitted his back was turned away from the shooting until after he heard the two gunshots. 

All three eyewitnesses present in court stated they did not see the shooter’s face. 

Transcripts of Foster’s testimony from the 2015 trial detailed his struggles following the shooting as he was left partially paralyzed from his injuries. They also presented his clothes worn on the day of the shooting which were covered in blood and torn by a bullet hole.

According to Foster’s testimony, Coley was upset because he didn’t want to take part in drug deals.

Earlier testimony from another deceased witness described his view of the shooting from across the street.

In the transcript, the witness recalled seeing the victim stumbling across the street holding his chest. 

Defense attorneys questioned the credibility of the witness, who lost his job at a police department following a positive drug test and conviction for distributing cocaine.

As the trial continued, defense attorneys questioned witnesses credibility and raised concerns about their inability to fully identify Coley as the shooter. Testimony regarding the suspect’s description and entrance into the apartment building are being contested by both parties.

The trial is slated to presume June 5.

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