Five Witnesses Testify About Separate Drive-by Shooting During a Murder Trial

During a Sept. 21 jury trial, the prosecution introduced five witnesses to testify about a drive-by shooting involving three co-defendants.

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. 

Additionally, Turner is 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.

Jennings is specifically accused of sharing criminal intelligence with Turner, when she worked as a clerk for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Another co-defendant Duan Hill, 33, is charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. 

The defendants are also linked to the drive-by shooting, which occurred on March 8, 2017, on South Capitol St, SW, in front of Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), where Jennings previously worked and where Turner would regularly check in while on probation.

The drive-by shooting caused damage to five vehicles. 

The first two witnesses, who were MPD officers called to the site of the March shooting, showed video footage from their body-worn cameras (BWC), as evidence of them driving to the site after “they received a call for sounds of shotguns.” They counted the shell casings once they arrived. 

A Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) employee, who previously worked as an MPD officer, stated that he advised the owner of the white Lexus, who was believed to be Turner, “that it would be taken to DHS for processing.” 

A CSOSA worker, who testified about her relationship working with Turner in the past, said Turner left the site of the shooting and then returned.

“He was distraught and upset,” which she said she assumed “by his demeanor.”

The last witness was a MPD detective who investigated the March shooting. He stated that there were no injured victims or blood at the site, but there was “damage to the building and vehicles.” He also identified Jennings from having worked with her in the past.

The prosecutors then displayed security footage and asked the witness if he could identify Turner in the video. The witness identified a white Lexus and then stated that “Mr. Turner exited the white Lexus.” 

The defense also delivered opening statements on Wednesday.

Turner’s defense attorney Michael Madden said he grew up in a neighborhood with high levels of violence and drug use, in which he “associated with some nefarious characters.”

He said the prosecution is going to argue that Turner is “guilty by association” by “cherry-picking” phone calls, dates, and evidence. He also emphasized the lack of eye-witness testimony, DNA evidence, and fingerprint evidence linking Turner to these charges.

He told the jurors that even though this trial has three different defendants, each one of them should be considered separately. 

Jennings’ defense attorney Russell Hairston stated that the prosecution’s case is a theory and that Jennings was not involved in the murder. 

Furthermore, Hill’s defense attorney Bruce Cooper explained Hill’s innocence and integrity as a man who owns a business. 

DC Superior Court Judge Marisa J. Demeo set this trial to continue on Sept 22.

Read more about the murder case here.

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