Judge Denies Convicted Murderer’s Motion for a New Trial

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DC Superior Court Judge Michael O’Keefe turned down Marvin Lopez’s bid for a new day in court following his murder conviction last Nov. 14. 

The basis for the appeal by his new attorney, John Machado, is that an individual identified as Lopez’s uncle wasn’t called to testify at trial, even though he was designated as a prosecution witness. 

Lopez, 43, was found guilty by a jury of premeditated first-degree murder and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for fatally shooting  27-year-old Evelyn Arroyo on Dec. 24, 2014, on the 3900 block of 14th Street, NW.  Arroyo was Lopez’s former girlfriend.

Lopez attended the May 24 hearing and listened to the proceedings with the assistance of a Spanish language translator.  

Judge O’Keefe wondered what new information the witness would be able to provide given that the prosecutors decided not to put him on the stand initially to support their argument that Lopez was guilty.

Machado said the witness was “exasperated with the government” after waiting all day to be called and “became uncooperative.”

The prosecutor said she was “a little at a loss, here,” why Lopez’s defense was “ineffective” simply because someone on the prosecution’s witness list didn’t testify on the defendant’s behalf.  She said whatever his testimony might be, it is likely irrelevant and  it “wouldn’t have moved the needle.”

“I don’t know that becomes grounds for a new trial,” said Judge O’Keefe.  “Based on a witness that we don’t know anything about,” would he offer exculpatory testimony, asked O’Keefe?

Machado admitted he didn’t know what the uncle, who was also described as Lopez’s friend, would say.  However, he said that the prosecutors had “poisoned the waters” by aggravating the individual and making him uncooperative.  Further, he was “hidden” and kept apart. 

The prosecutor said the witness didn’t have relevant information and that’s why he was released.

To backup defense claims that the witness might have value, Machado told the court one of  Lopez’s former lawyers, Rachel McCoy, was outside the courtroom and prepared to say what she knew. 

The defense decided not to call her after determining she wouldn’t be able to shed new light on the matter.

In the end, Judge O’Keefe said that since neither the prosecution nor the defense had called the witness the motion for a new trial was denied.

To prepare for Lopez’s July 12 sentencing, Machado wanted to review the trial transcript to “have a better understanding” of what happened.

Judge O’Keefe said that the court wasn’t going to relitigate the case and that the mandatory minimum for the crime is 30 years imprisonment.  

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