Judge Prepares Jury for Deliberations In Homicide Case Involving 17-Year-Old Girl

On Nov. 30, the defense attorneys and prosecutors argued before the jury during a trial  as they presented their closing arguments for a homicide that resulted in the murder of a 17-year-old girl.

On Aug. 10, 2017, at around 3:30 p.m., Robert Moses, 23, and James Mayfield, 22 approached the intersection of Montana and Saratoga Avenues, NE while armed with .40 and .45 caliber handguns. Collectively, the defendants fired over ten rounds at people standing on Saratoga Avenue. One of these bullets struck 17-year-old Jamahri Sydnor in the head as she was driving, killing her. Three other bystanders were struck by the bullets.  

Moses was arrested on Oct. 16, 2017.  He is charged with 13 counts, including first-degree murder while armed, assault with the intent to kill while armed, and aggravated assault while armed on Oct. 26, 2017. 

Mayfield was arrested on Dec. 27, 2017. He is charged with 25 counts, including first-degree murder, assault with the intent to kill while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, threat to kidnap or injure a person, robbery while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of an unregistered firearm, carrying a pistol without a license, and attempt to commit robbery while armed. 

Phillip McDaniel, 26, an accomplice who was arrested and charged in 2017 for his involvement in Sydnor’s murder, signed a plea deal to lessen his sentence to second-degree murder. This deal included his agreement to testify against Moses and Mayfield. 

The prosecutor requested, at the start of court on Wednesday, for Webex to be open for Sydnor family members in other states to view the final verdict.

 DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan said she will consult with other judges that have previously done it before granting the request.

“The prosecutors have not met the burden of proving my client James Mayfield guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” defense attorney Veronice Holt began during her closing argument. “They have no evidence other than McDaniels testimony which has been filled with lies. McDaniel is a sociopath and a user.”

Holt began to display some exhibits.

“The prosecutors have granted both of McDaniels babies mama’s $110,000 in total for witness protection, and they claimed to see my client James Mayfield but both exhibits displayed previously have no Mayfield in sight.”

According to Holt another witness who was in the car at the time of McDaniel’s arrest fits the description of the assailant  also. He was described as “ skinny as shit” by the live victims.

“All the prosecution could provide in this case are conformational biases,” Holt said.

“Street cameras have not been accounted for in identifying my client entering or exiting the gold honda that led to McDaniel’s arrest,” Holt said.

“As far as it concerns my client. They don’t give a damn about him,” Holt said.

The prosecutor began her redirect about McDaniel and his family stating, “McDaniel had a lot to lose, he had the mother of his children and his kids two who were staying with Robert Moses, and his mom goes homeless as a result of him becoming a government witness.”

According to the prosecutor, she said, “For him to blame these two defendants out of all of the others. Why would he do such a thing if he saw them as a family?” 

“The .45 caliber that killed Sydnor that the defense attorneys mentioned in yesterday’s hearing were destroyed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms after a year. If you were wondering, the government holds murder weapons in custody for sixty-five years.”

The prosecutor also mentioned that the .45 caliber was also found six months after the shooting in McDaniels possession. The gun wasn’t tested because too much time went by and the gun would have been contaminated.

She then presented a photo of Moses and another witness showing their middle fingers a month after the shooting in the Saratoga neighborhood taunting them. 

According to the prosecutor, the photo was posted by Mayfield.

Judge Raffinan debriefed the jury regarding the end of the trial and indicated she wanted them to continue following the guidelines and consider all the factors in this case. 

The jury is scheduled to begin  deliberations on Dec. 5.

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