Judge Addresses Parties’ Requests for Upcoming Murder Trial

Parties made last-minute evidence arguments ahead of an upcoming murder trial.

Tony McClam, 31, is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 11-year-old Karon Brown on July 18, 2019, on the 2700 block of Naylor Road, SE. DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz said during the Nov. 22 hearing that he expects to interview about 80 potential jurors for the trial. Jury selection is expected to begin on Nov. 29. The trial is expected to begin on Dec. 6.

Both parties have filed multiple motions regarding evidence that is set to be presented during the trial. Defense attorney Jason Tulley asked for permission to have a jury selection consultant virtually watch the selection process from an angle that provides a good view of the potential jurors. Although the prosecution objected due to “privacy issues” for the potential jurors, Judge Kravitz will allow the consultant to watch remotely. 

The prosecution presented three photos of Brown they are considering showing the jury. Tully objected because “the third picture shows the decedent to be younger than he was at the time of his death.” 

Judge Kravitz responded, “I don’t see what is so prejudicial of someone who appears to be approximately [11 years old]. I imagine you would prefer jurors see photos of [Brown] in life as opposed to bloody ones in death.”

Tully countered and said, “the issue is in terms of preferential value—it makes you feel sad and that affects people in a case where there is a dead child and my fear is that the jury is going to make an emotional decision instead of a fact-based one.”

Judge Kravitz asked that if the prosecution uses one of the photos, they crop the photo to above the shoulders and to make sure no one other than Brown is seen in the photo. 

Tully also said that although the percentage of Black people in DC is roughly 40%, the percentage of Black people coming in for jury selection is in the low 20s. The Office of the Attorney General will provide the defense with information on juror demographics from the last two months to address Tulley’s claim. 

Tulley also said the defense will not introduce any of the results of the independant DNA testing they conducted at trial.

McClam is also charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, assault with intent to kill while armed and carrying a pistol without a license outside of a home or business in this case.