Obstruction of Justice Cases to be Included in Upcoming Murder Trial

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A DC Superior Court judge allowed two recently opened obstruction of justice cases to be included in an upcoming murder trial. She also denied a motion to withhold evidence from one of the defendant’s cell phones. 

Co-defendants Antonio McKenzie, Edward Brown and Steven Robin are charged with first-degree murder while armed in the shooting of 29-year-old Kenneth Poindexter on the 4700 block of Benning Road, SE, on Jan. 20, 2018.

Former co-defendant Charles Young recently pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to voluntary manslaughter. According to court documents, as part of the plea deal, parties agreed that an appropriate sentence would be four years of incarceration with all of that time suspended except for what he will have already served at DC Jail by the time he is sentenced. Also as part of his plea deal, the prosecution agreed not to call Young to testify at his former co-defendant’s trial.

During the Aug. 30 hearing, Judge Dayna Dayson heard two motions. The first motion argued to withhold cell phone data showing where McKenzie was before, during and after the shooting.

McKenzie’s attorney, Steven Keirsh, called cell phone technology a “developing area of the law.” He noted that a previous DC case ruled on how long of a time period detectives could reasonably ask to collect cell phone data from. Keirsh went on to argue that the affidavit filed for his client’s cell phone data was too broad.

The prosecution argued that the affidavit does in fact show a period of time that is “very constrained” and that the case Kersh cited is unrelated.

Judge Dayson agreed with the defense that this area of the law is evolutionary, but ruled against withholding the evidence. She said the case Kersh cited does not align with the current evidence.

Brown and McKenzie were recently indicted on charges of obstruction of justice for allegedly speaking with a fellow inmate who is one of the prosecution’s witnesses in this case. The prosecution recently motioned for the obstruction of justice cases to be included in the upcoming murder trial.

Robin’s defense attorney, Kristin McGough, argued that including these obstruction cases in the murder trial will prevent her client from receiving a fair trial by causing prejudice against him.

Judge Dayson sided with the prosecution, saying a jury should be able to differentiate between the accusations against the defendants without issue.

The trial is now scheduled to begin on Sept. 29.

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