“He is Not Guilty,’ Defense Attorney Says in Multi-Defendant Homicide Trial

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On May 18, defense attorneys for Isaiah Murchison and Quentin Michals delivered closing arguments following a lengthy and emotional trial. 

Gregory Taylor, 27, Michals, 25, Qujuan Thomas, 24, Darrise Jeffers, 23, Murchison, 23, and Marquell Cobbs, 21, are six of 10 defendants charged with first-degree murder, criminal street gang affiliation, conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, assault with intent to kill, and other charges regarding a fatal drive-by shooting that resulted in 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson’s death. The shooting happened on the 300 block of 53rd Street, NE on July 16, 2018. 

Elizabeth Weller, attorney for Murchison, contended he did not conspire to assault or kill anyone, nor did he shoot anyone during the July 16, 2018 attack. 

“They’re trying to make the puzzle pieces fit, even when they don’t,” saying prosecutors came up with a theory that doesn’t match the facts.  

She said prosecutors also tried to vilify the Wellington Park neighborhood unfairly since it’s considered a dangerous neighborhood.  

Weller pointed out that in the various Instagram posts and text message chains shared by the prosecutors of the group chat, Murchison was not an active participant. According to Weller, there is nothing connecting Murchison to any of the shootings that occurred in 2017 prior to Mikayah’s murder. She claimed that in the July 2018 attack, prosecutors failed to investigate at least five individuals seen in the Wellington Park neighborhood before and after the shooting that day. However, she said, the individuals were not seen during the incident.

“Isaiah Murchison is not guilty,” Weller  concluded. . 

Similarly, Errin Scialpi, defense attorney for Michals, argued there is no evidence to support beyond a reasonable doubt that Michals intended to commit murder.  

According to Scialpi, the prosecutor’s argument that Michals was not in the vehicle that killed Makiyah due to leg injuries sustained from various shootings contradicts the fact he was playing basketball near the Clay Terrace neighborhood three days before the attack. 

As to his alleged bragging about the attacks on social media, “he was just doing what he does with his friends,” she said,  arguing it was not uncommon for them to get together to listen to music and rap in the parking lot. 

“We’re placing [Michals’] life in your hands,” she said as she ended her closing arguments. 

Both defense attorneys reminded the jury that they are the judges of the facts in this case, and urged them to deliver the only fair verdict… not guilty. 

Parties are expected back to continue closing arguments on May 22. 

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