Parties in a murder case discussed June 8 the possibility of suppressing a witness’s identity as they prepare for trial.
On March 19, 2018, 22-year-old Aujee Tyler was shot and killed on the 3500 block of Stanton Road, SE. Kaevon Sutton was soon after charged with first-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a license in connection to Tyler’s murder and has been held in DC Jail since.
The witness was present during the incident and told a Metropolitan Police Department detective of a conversation, which lead up to the shooting, where Tyler was lecturing Sutton over a stolen vehicle. Several days after the shooting, the detective presented the witness with a confirmatory photo, who the witness immediately identified as Sutton, who is also known as “Baby Ahk”.
The witness told the detective that Sutton and Tyler were in a music video and Sutton adorned the same clothing he wore in the music video.
Defense attorneys Terrence Austin and Joseph Wong argued that the witness wasn’t close enough to the conversation between Sutton and Tyler. In addition, Austin and Wong said that there was scarce information between the day of the shooting and the day the detective spoke to the witness.
Prosecutors said the relationship between the witness and Sutton was familiar enough, and, according to the testimony provided by the detective, the witness initiated the identification of Sutton.
DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo denied the defense’s motion to suppress the identification of the witness.
“[He] clearly had a full opportunity to focus on the defendant,” Judge Demeo said.
Wong and Terrence also filed a motion for discovery of petit jury selection materials. The motion, which was filed just three days prior to jury selection, has the potential to delay the jury selection process. To remedy the conflict, prosecutors requested a larger pool for jury selection.
“It’s not about the pool that is before us, it’s about challenging the selection process,” Wong said.
The defense also motioned for the defendant to have a fair cross-examination.
Judge Demeo’s limited schedule, along with a quick turnaround to resolve the defense’s motions, led the two parties to a standstill. The standstill ended when Judge Demeo vacated the trial, which was supposed to begin with jury selection on June 9.
“Continuances are difficult to endure…for the attorney, for the witnesses, for everyone involved,” Judge Demeo said.
The case will be transferred to Judge Robert Okun, who will address the motions at the next status hearing on June 10 and possibly set a new trial.