Defense Questions Forensic Scientist’s Reliability During Murder Trial

 The trial for the fatal shooting of Daniel Parker continued on Nov. 23 with a forensic scientist and an individual who was at the scene of the shooting taking the witness stand. During the hearing, the focus was placed on a forensic scientist who testified. 

Dewayne Shorter is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the death of 38-year-old Parker on July 26, 2017, on the 2000 block of Fairlawn Avenue, SE. 

According to court documents, 49 cartridge casings were found around the scene of the shooting. They were the type of cartridges used in a high-velocity assault rifle. The medical examiner who recovered over 15 fragments of casings from the victim’s clothing and body at the scene testified during the trial. He noted how the victim had so many gunshot wounds that he could not provide an exact count of entry and exit wounds. 

The prosecution called a forensic scientist from the Department of Forensic Sciences to testify. She had performed a daylight canvassing of the area where Parker was killed the morning after the shooting. During the proceedings, she matched photographs of evidence found at the scene to locations on a map of the area. The evidence included bullet marks on multiple vehicles, the sidewalk, and a metal fence. It also included multiple cartridge casings, live ammunition and bullet fragments. 

In their cross examination, defense attorneys Jon Norris and Gemma Stevens pointed out that the forensic lab has since lost its national accreditation. They also emphasized that the scientist did not arrive on the scene until seven or eight hours after the shooting.

The prosecution then called in a friend of the victim who had been present at the shooting. The witness made in court identification of Shorter as a man he knew by the name of “Wayne”. He testified that, while he had known about the defendant getting shot in April 2017, he had no knowledge of whether or not Parker was involved. He also testified that Parker had begun using the drug molly daily in January 2017. He said Shorter was exhibiting signs of paranoia and staying away for days at a time. 

The witness said that Parker was always armed and had told him to make sure he had his gun on him at all times. 

During the shooting, the witness was inside the apartment and upon hearing the shots, grabbed his gun to return fire. Out of the apartment window, he saw someone he believed to be Shorter and had exchanged fire with him. The prosecution noted that the witness had testified before a grand jury that he was sure that the shooter was Wayne. 

During cross-examination, the defense noted that the witness never made any identification of the shooter to police or anyone in authority until the grand jury testimony. They also asked whether Parker had ever explicitly said that Wayne was the person after him. The witness denied this.

DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo said that the trial will resume on Nov. 29. The prosecution plans to call a  medical examiner and a firearms expert to testify.

Shorter, 33, is also charged with assault with intent to kill while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and unlawful possession of a firearm while armed during a crime of violence.