Judge Won’t Dismiss, ‘As Clear As They Come,’ Conspiracy Charges Against Three Co-Defendants

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With the jury absent, defense attorneys argued to dismiss conspiracy charges against their clients, while opposing the prosecution’s request to admit statements that allegedly link three co-defendants to a teen’s homicide and a related shooting spree. 

Koran Jackson, 23, Tyiion Kyree Freeman, 24, and Stephen Nelson, 33, are three of five individuals charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, assault with the intent to kill while armed, first-degree murder while armed, carrying a pistol without a license, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in connection to the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Malachi Lukes on March 1, 2020, on the 600 block of S Street, NW. The shooting also left a second juvenile victim located in the vicinity suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the right leg.  

Throughout the trial, the prosecution has attempted to connect Jackson, Freeman, and Nelson to additional shootings that occurred on Feb. 22, 2020; Feb. 24, 2020 and a second shooting on March 1, 2020. The prosecution alleges a firearm conspiracy among the defendants in which they aimed to obtain and use specific weapons in Lukes’ homicide.

The case also involves alleged co-conspirators Reginald Steele, 24, and Aaron Brown, 27.

On May 13, defense attorneys in the case motioned to dismiss conspiracy charge against the trio detailed in their respective indictments.

Lisbeth Sapirstein, Nelson’s defense attorney, stated that the prosecution has failed to present evidence of an arrangement that the firearms described in coded text threads were used to commit the crimes of murder and conspiracy.

“Boogie,” previously identified as Nelson by witnesses, was allegedly engaged in a series of text messages to sell firearms on Feb. 9, 2020 that have been linked to a series of shootings and a homicide.

After trying to sell an M&P Shield handgun and a Glock 26, the text sender identified as Boogie stated that “ty” had grabbed “the 26.” Freeman has been previously identified as “ty” by witnesses. 

DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt denied the defense dismissal motion, stating “the court will not disturb the indictment” because the charges are as “clear as they come.”

Judge Brandt later ruled that Feb. 9, 2020 is the first day Nelson and Freeman were considered part of the conspiracy due to the text messages linking “Boogie” and “ty” to the firearms used in multiple shootings. 

Jackson allegedly entered the conspiracy on Feb. 13, 2020 via text messages confirming loyalty to his ‘crew’ or neighborhood gang, after an unrelated shooting left a friend injured on the 1200 block of North Capitol Street, NW.

The prosecution has previously alleged the shooting of the mutual friend as the motive for the defendants’ shooting spree.

Additionally, Judge Brandt granted the prosecution’s motion for the admission of an Instagram exchange between Freeman and an Instagram user allegedly selling a stolen vehicle, on the basis that the exchange was admissible as co-conspirator statements.

According to Freeman’s Instagram direct share, from Feb. 18- to- 21, 2020, he allegedly negotiated the purchase of a stolen vehicle, and on Feb. 21, Freedman agreed to pay $150 for a Mazda truck.

A white Mazda SUV has been introduced as a suspect vehicle for multiple of the shootings alleged in the conspiracy.

The prosecution argued the deal furthered the defendants’ objective in building a conspiracy by purchasing a vehicle that could easily flee the scene of a crime and would be helpful in the carrying, possessing, and transferring firearms.

Judge Brandt allowed all the evidence from the Instagram exchange.

Proceedings will continue on May 14.

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