Judge Says All Defendants Involved in Some Capacity, Denying Severance in Mass Shooting

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DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun denied a motion to sever the cases of multiple homicide co-defendants in a mass shooting, indicating they were all involved in some capacity. 

Erwin Dubose, 30, Kamar Queen, 27, William Johnson-Lee, 21, and Damonta

Thompson, 21, are four of six individuals charged with conspiracy, first-degree murder while armed, and assault with intent to kill, among other charges, for their involvement in the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 31-year-old Donnetta Dyson, 24-year-old Keenan Baxter, and 37-year-old Johnny Joyner.  

The incident occurred on the 600 block of Longfellow Street, NW on Sept. 4, 2021, and left three others suffering from injuries. 

According to prosecutors, the defendants are part of the TRU Crew, which is also known as the “Tuff Real Understanding” Crew. Prosecutors claimed the crew is a street gang who are believed to commit crimes throughout the city. 

On April 12, the prosecution described Dubose, Queen, and 31-year-old Mussye Rezene, who is charged in connection to this incident with accessory after the fact, as being the “ring leaders” of the alleged conspiracy. Rezene was previously convicted of killing a teenager in 2021.

Multiple defendants, through counsel, filed motions to sever their cases from the group. 

Peter Fayne, Johnson-Lee’s defense attorney, claimed the prosecution is only charging him because he appeared in Dubose and Queen’s rap videos, insisting there is no evidence that proves he was part of the shooting. 

Likewise, Elizabeth Weller, Thompson’s defense attorney, argued there is little evidence mentioned against him in the case, adding he doesn’t appear in any of the other defendants’ rap videos. 

However, the prosecution objected to the request, stating that the accumulated evidence they will present at trial proves the defendants acted together and were aware of each other’s actions in the incident.  

Judge Okun denied the request for severance, stating he has no doubt they were each involved in some capacity in the crime.

Multiple follow-up court appearances were scheduled for the defendants. 

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