Judge Says 18-Year-Old ‘Competent’ to Testify About Memories of Mom Missing Since 2010

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DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein will allow an 18-year boy to testify about events leading up to the suspected murder of his mother in 2010 even though his memories may be faded.

Issac Moye, 45, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of 24-year-old Unique Harris. Harris was last seen on Oct. 10, 2010, near the 2000 block of Hartford Street, SE. Her body was never recovered.

At the request of the defense and prosecutors, Judge Epstein, in a May 22 hearing, asked the high-school senior if he could remember what happened around the time his mother went missing.

Wearing a sweatshirt bearing his mother’s picture along with another family member, the boy acknowledged that he had limited recall about what happened in 2010 when he was five-years-old.  However, he said he had some memory of being awakened by police looking for Harris, but recalled nothing of the previous night.

The issue for Epstein was not only whether the boy, who testified before a Grand Jury 12-years-ago, is competent to testify but would he be a credible witness.  Moye’s defense attorneys had argued the boy’s previous testimony was inconsistent.  

In the end Epstein said he believed the boy could recall what happened, understood the difference between truth and falsehood and appeared to be telling the truth.  

Judge Epstein pointed out tthat memory could “play tricks” in terms of the boy’s recollections of his mother.  However, he said it will be up to the jury to decide whether the 18-year-old’s statements are true. 

Much of the remainder of the proceeding dealt with a series of interviews between Moye and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detectives investigating Harris’ disappearance.  One lead detective, a specialist in cold cases, and a retired detective testified that Moye had been identified as a person of interest who should be questioned.

In a 2011 interrogation, Moye said he wasn’t sexually involved with Harris, but after failing a polygraph test admitted he had lied about his relationship with the woman.  Prosecutors stressed that Moye had not been coerced to testify, but defense lawyer Candace Mitchell played a portion of one of the interviews in which an officer raises his voice and pushes Moye to admit he had sex with Harris.   

The next hearing in the case is set for May 31 at 10 a.m.

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