Judge Grants Defense’s Motion To Suppress Key Witness’s Testimony

A DC Superior Court Judge Marisa J. Demeo grants a motion to suppress evidence on June 22 as attorneys prepare for trial. 

Eugene Burns, 30, is charged with first-degree murder while armed in an incident that stemmed from the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Onyekachi Emmanuel Osuchukwu III on the 2900 block of Second Street, SE. The incident allegedly started over a drug deal.

Judge Demeo addressed Burn’s defense attorneys, Ron White and Mary Kennedy’s, request to suppress witness testimony for multiple witnesses. 

The main debate was about a key witness who was discovered through an illegal extraction of Burns’ text messages. Allegedly, the texts contained details of the key witness’s involvement with drug deals and guns.

The “texts were central for getting the witness to testify,” White stated.

White and Kennedy contended that, due to the texts, the witness testified against his will and was reluctant every step of the way.

Prosecutors argued that the witness’s testimony wasn’t a product of an illegal search of Burns’ phone, but a product of routine investigative steps. 

The determination was dependent upon two main questions: whether or not the witness would’ve inevitably been discovered, and whether the witness’s testimony would remain the same without the disclosure of the texts. 

“It’s not comporting with what you are trying to represent to the court,” Judge Demeo said in reference to the dissonance between the defense’s incriminating exhibits and the prosecution’s arguments. One of the exhibits included a June 2017 letter written by prosecutors which disclosed that the witness was shown compelling texts prior to his Grand Jury testimony.

Judge Demeo granted Kennedy and White’s request to suppress testimony of the key witnesses, saying prosecutors did not meet the burden of proof for evidence.

Judge Demeo also denied the motion to suppress testimony for other witnesses, saying they were identified through an independent source. 

Burns’ next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 20.