Expert Witness Connects Six Shootings to Defendants in Murder Trial 

On Sept. 29, the prosecution used expert witnesses to connect six shootings to the three co-defendants who are being tried for a murder. 

Derek Turner, 31, and co-defendant Ronnika Jennings, 44, are charged with first-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and conspiracy in connection with the shooting of 28-year-old Andrew McPhatter on March 5, 2017, on the 3500 block of Wheeler Road, SE. Jennings is accused of sharing criminal information with Turner during her time working as a clerk for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). 

The third co-defendant Duan Hill, 33, is charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Turner is also charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting 23-year-old Devin Hall on Jan. 7, 2017, on the 3500 block of 6th Street, SE.

During Thursday’s trial, the prosecution focused on six different shootings in a timeline of events  from November 2016 to March 2017 during questioning. 

A forensic firearm specialist, who is a “distinguished member of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE),” testified about the connection between the six shootings. 

The witness confirmed that the casings from all six shootings matched the weapon, a .10 millimeter Glock found in Turner’s car seven days after McPhatter’s shooting. 

Defense attorney Michael Madden cross-examined the witness on the reliability of his comparison of the bullet casings. He referenced an article by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) critiquing AFTE’s methodology. 

Madden said there was no evidence connecting the defendants to the shootings. 

DC Superior Court Judge Marisa J. Demeo set the trial to continue on Oct. 3.

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