Defense Lawyer Says Shooting Victim ‘Just Kept Coming’ in Murder Trial Opening

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In her opening argument, defense attorney Gemma Stevens told jurors that Vincent Gyamfi “just kept coming” after Lewkus Turner in a family squabble that ultimately proved deadly.

Turner, 29, is accused of second-degree murder for allegedly shooting 26-year-old Gyamfi on Dec. 11, 2020, on the 2900 block of S Street, SE.

On the first day of trial, Stevens said that Turner was known to hang out near that intersection and when Gyamfi arrived late in the afternoon he angrily confronted Turner who was parked in his car.  According to the defense, Turner moved several times in the next few minutes but Gyamfi insisted on pursuing him. 

Finally, Stevens said Gyamfi ripped open the door of Turner’s car and during the struggle shots were fired.  She argued the shooting was accidental and in self-defense pointing out that at that time Turner was only 110-pounds while Gyamfi weighed 255-pounds.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, painted a very different picture.  In their version, Turner intentionally shot Gyami three times, and a recording of the gunfire was played to the jury.  Prosecutors say Turner “took Vinnie’s life.” 

Gyamfi and Turner were cousins, but the prosecution argued they were more like brothers until Turner made an on-line post warning about a family member with COVID.  What followed, say prosecutors, were “three separate arguments” around the intersection of 29th and S Streets, SE.  After the shooting, Turner allegedly dragged Gyamfi’s body away from his car.  

Prosecutors also say a witness friendly with both the victim and the suspect pulled a gun out of Gyamfi’s pocket after the shooting.  However, the defense points out that Gyamfi was known to carry a gun. 

The series of events was captured on police CCTV cameras. However, a complete set of the videos was not delivered to Turner’s defense team until just before the trial–close to three years after the crime.  His lawyers felt the material could help exonerate their client and asked for a mistrial with prejudice and that Turner be released..

On May 16, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan said the prosecution’s actions amounted to “gross negligence,” but would allow the trial to take place with special instructions to the jury about how to interpret the set of videos. 

The prosecution’s first witness was a Metropolitan Police Department (MDP) officer first on the scene of the shooting who said he saw several people around Gyamfi’s lifeless body.  The officer confirmed there were no firearms on the victim.

Under cross examination from defense lawyer, Jason Clark, the officer admitted he was unable to identify as many as seven people who were gathered at the intersection around the time of the shooting.

The prosecution is expected to continue its case on May 25.

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