Key Witness Continues Testimony in Murder Trial

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A defendant who said she had close ties with two murder defendants continued her testimony at their trial.

Nyekemia Everett, 35, and Malik Hewitt, 41, are charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 37-year-old Christopher Heard on the 2300 block of Ainger Place, SE, on April 27, 2017. The prosecution alleges that the two defendants plotted to rob and kill Heard, who was selling the drug PCP to make money after having recently been released from jail. They allege that Everett shot Heard, while Hewitt acted as the getaway driver.

However, the defense attorneys deny that their clients were involved in a robbery. During opening arguments, Everett’s attorney, Michael Madden, said Heard was high on PCP and attempting to rob this witness on the day of the homicide. The witness confirmed on July 9 that she initially told the police this, but now says it was a lie.

During the July 12 hearing, defense attorney Nikki Lotze showed video footage of the witness’ testimony. The footage shows her changing her story after a detective told her she was “going to be f***ed” if she lied.

Lotze asked the witness if detectives intimidated her into lying about her story to keep herself safe. The witness denied this. 

“He wanted to convey the point that I better tell the truth,” she said. “The police were just doing their job.”

Lotze pointed to the witness’s previous testimony that she fell asleep in the getaway car shortly after the homicide, suggesting it indicates that she didn’t think she did anything wrong. The witness disagreed, saying she fell asleep because she was high at the time. 

Defense attorney Michael Madden also said her initial story had “an impressive amount of detail for a lie” during cross-examination.

On July 9, the witness confirmed that she was receiving a plea deal for her testimony and that she could have been charged with felony murder, but took a plea deal that capped her potential sentence at 15 years for robbery conspiracy. She said she is hoping to receive a probation-only sentence.

After her testimony concluded, a witness who was a corrections officer at the time of the homicide took the stand. He explained DC Jail policy with inmate phone calls, visits and interactions during recreation time. DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz said he will continue his testimony when the trial resumes on July 13.

Hewitt is also charged with possession of a firearm during an act of violence, felony murder while armed and conspiracy in this case. Everett is also charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, fleeing a law enforcement officer, attempt to commit robbery while armed, conspiracy and obstructing justice.

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