Defense Calls Murder Case ‘Flawed’

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During closing statements March 9, defense counsel reiterated that the defendant was innocent, blaming a faulty investigation by the police for his arrest.

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.

“They arrested and charged a witness to a crime because of a failed, flawed and flimsy investigation,” said David Knight, one of Jones’ two defense attorneys. 

“No evidence here shows that Dajuan Jones even knew who Cheyenne Washington was,” Knight said, referencing that the prosecutions argument of the timing Jones got off a public transit bus was not enough evidence to convict.

Knight also addressed concerns about the eyewitness to the crime, who has repeatedly contradicted himself in his testimony. 

“Unequivocally believing what he says would be comical,” DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz told counsel on March 3.

On March 2, Prescott Loveland, Jones’ other defense attorney, told the jury that the witness 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. 

Then, during trial, the witness changed his initial description.

During the prosecution’s closing arguments, the prosecutor reviewed surveillance video one last time with the jury. 

“When Cheyenne Washington pulled the cord to signal it was his stop to get off, Dajuan Jones stood up from his seat,” the prosecutor said. “When Cheyenne Washington didn’t move, Dajuan Jones sat back down. When Cheyenne Washington got off the bus, Dajuan Jones got off the bus.” 

The prosecutor continued by reminding the jury of photos on Jones’ Instagram that were posted before the murder. In the photos Jones can be seen clutching a gun in his front pants pocket. 

According to a firearms expert, who testified during trial, the gun found in Jones’ possession, a Rugar LCP, was determined to be capable of shooting the type of shell casings found at the scene of Washington’s murder.

“This case started and ended with Cheyenne Washington. He was a young man in his 20s who just wanted to walk home. And now he’s gone. And that’s because of the defendant,” the prosecutor said. 

Jurors began deliberations on March 10. Jones was found not guilty on March 12.

Written by Wyatt Mullins and MiriYam Judd

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