Judge Denies Defendant’s Request for New Counsel in 2018 Drive-By Shooting

DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun addressed several attorneys’ motions to withdraw and potential counsel conflicts in a 2018 drive-by shooting case. 

Codefendants Qujuan Thomas, 23, and Gregory Taylor, 26, are charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with the shooting of 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson on July 16, 2018, on the 300 block of 53rd Street, NE. The shooting is alleged to have resulted from a neighborhood rivalry.

Thomas and Taylor are also charged with conspiracy, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, criminal street gang affiliation and assault with intent to kill while armed. 

During court proceedings on July 12, Taylor requested Judge Okun appoint new counsel to replace defense attorney Jonathon Zucker. Thomas alleged there was a conflict of interest due to Zucker’s prior representation of Thomas.

“I don’t think there’s an actual or potential conflict of interest with Mr. Zucker’s prior representation of Mr. Thomas,” Judge Okun said, denying Taylor’s request.

However, Judge Okun continued the investigation into a potential conflict of interest between Taylor and Zucker due to Zucker’s prior representation of another defendant separate from this case. 

In a previous hearing on June 17, Judge Okun appointed defense attorney Samuel Bogash to investigate the conflict. 

On July 12, after asking the defendant several questions virtually, Bogash told Judge Okun he would need to meet the defendant in person before making a determination. 

Judge Okun then considered Taylor’s defense attorney Wole Falodun’s motion to withdraw from the case.

While Judge Okun indicated he was inclined to grant Falodun’s motion, he was concerned about whether Taylor would have proper representation during an upcoming July 29 hearing. 

Judge Okun decided to grant Thomas’s defense attorney Kristin McGough’s motion to withdraw and appointed Julia Sawney as the defendant’s new counsel. 

The parties are set to reconvene on July 29 to resolve the conflict-of-interest matter between Taylor and Zucker. 

Follow this case