Medical Examiner, DNA and Digital Analysts Testify in Homicide Trial

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“The patient bled extensively from his chest and liver… that’s how he died,” said a DC Medical Examiner during testimony in a 2022 homicide trial before DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun.

Marcus Walker, 23, is charged with first-degree murder premeditated while armed, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon against a minor, second-degree cruelty to children, three counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device for his alleged role in the killing of 28-year-old Erik King, on Oct. 11, 2022. The shooting occurred on the 800th Block of 21st Street, NE.

According to witnesses, Walker got into a dispute with King prior to shooting him in his chest and groin. King was pronounced dead at the scene by DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (DCFEMS). It’s also believed that a child was in the room when the shooting occurred.

On May 1, prosecutors called a representative from the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), who performed King’s autopsy, and authored the report.

The witness explained he observed two gunshot wounds, one under King’s left armpit, and another in his groin area. Prosecutors then showed King’s autopsy photos to the court.

The images included different angles of King’s face, the two entry wounds, the organs that had been pierced by the bullet, the stippling pattern around the entrance wounds, and the bullets recovered from King’s body.

When asked to explain the meaning of “stippling,” the examiner explained that stippling results from fragments of gunpowder from a firearm at close range, which could embed around the wound, causing the body to react.

The prosecutor then explained there is a difference between the cause of death and the manner of death, and asked the witness to differentiate. “What was the cause of death?” he asked. “Two gunshot wounds, one to the armpit, and one to the groin,” said the witness.

He explained without hesitation in this case, the manner was homicide.

The defense asked the witness to confirm whether every bullet fragment recovered during the autopsy was from this incident, to which the doctor replied that no, one of the fragments recovered was found elsewhere on King’s body.

According to the witness, King was previously shot but the date is unknown.

Their next prosecution witness was a DNA analyst from Signature Science, the company tasked with testing selected items for this case. which included a large-capacity ammunition magazine, one round of live ammunition, and a spent shell casing, but only the magazine and spent shell casing produced adequate results.

According to the expert, the DNA recovered from both pieces of evidence was extraordinarily likely to belong to Walker and an unknown individual.

During cross-examination, Walker’s defense attorney, Rachel McCoy, questioned the expert, suggesting it’s possible her client’s DNA had been indirectly transferred onto the items.

“It is possible, yes,” the expert said.

Prosecutors then called an investigator from the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO), to detail text messages recovered from the defendant’s phone, as well as phone subscriber information.

The witness explained that Walker was using TextNow, a texting app which allows users to call and text for free, and create an additional phone number without having to pay. 

Prosecutors then asked him to explain the different accounts and usernames it alleged were associated with the defendant. They included the TextNow account, a Google account, and a T-Mobile account, which bore different forms of the defendant’s legal name, and a phone number that Uber alleged to be registered in his name.

Jesse Winograd, Walker’s second attorney, asked the witness if, despite the multiple accounts bearing his client’s legal name and phone number, it was possible that somebody else was holding the cell phone when the text messages submitted to evidence were sent. 

The witness explained that the evidence could only show who the account, email address, and phone number were registered to, and couldn’t show who specifically pushed “send.”

With that the prosecution rested their case.

Walker’s attorneys entered a motion for a judgment of acquittal, explaining that the evidence prosecutors presented was insufficient for a conviction.

They also submitted a motion to dismiss the defendant’s charge of possessing a large capacity magazine, claiming there was no testimony backed that up.

They further explained that since the magazine was found in a common area of the home where Walker was staying, it could belong to anyone there.

Prosecutors explained that Walker’s ex-girlfriend, who testified in court on April 30, corroborated the presence of the high-capacity magazine, along with multiple forms of identification belonging to him in the house.

Walker’s attorneys rested on all other charges.

Judge Okun sided with prosecutors, believing there’s enough evidence  to show that the high-capacity magazine belonged to Walker.

Both defense motions were denied.

Parties are set to reconvene on May 2 to continue the trial.

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