Case Acquitted: Medical Examiner Confirms Victim’s Cause of Death During Murder Trial

Thank you for reading D.C. Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.

Donate Now

This case was acquitted on Dec. 16, 2022.

A medical examiner verifies the victims cause of death, and the lead deceive testifies about the evidence collected in a murder during trial on Dec. 14. 

Reginald Hooks, 37,  is charged with second-degree murder while armed for allegedly stabbing 22-year-old Dy’Mani Priestley on Jan. 5, 2020, on the 1200 block of U Street, NW.

The prosecution alleges that the stabbing occurred after Hooks and Priestly were involved in an altercation between two groups of people. 

As part of the prosecution’s argument, an expert from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said she could clearly identify a stab wound to the chest and other signs of blunt force trauma, including inside the victim’s mouth and on his torso, when examining the body. 

She also said the knife went through the interior of the heart, identifying the stab wound as Priestley’s cause of death. 

Quiana Harris, Hooks’ defense attorney, questioned if the victim would have experienced significant pain following the stabbing despite having THC, alcohol, and adrenaline surging through his body. 

A Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detective, who led the investigation, said Hooks was one of many witnesses who were questioned. According to the detective, Hooks stayed behind and spoke with the police, telling them her was on U Street when the stabbing occurred but did not hit or punch the victim.

The detective said Hooks’s statements to the responding officer were accurate and corroborated what he had previously told them. 

The detective said he spoke with two other men who were in the brawl throughout the course of the investigation. According to video evidence both men appeared to strike the victim. 

Within 24 hours after the incident, police were able to speak with one of the me. He denied taking part in the brawl that night on U Street. 

When asked if he had struck the victim, the second man similarly denied having done so.

Closing arguments are set to start on Dec. 15. 

DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan will give the jury instructions before they begin deliberating on Dec. 16.

Follow this case