Parties Postpone Trial for Co-Defendants in Non-Fatal Shooting Case Due to Delays in DNA Testing

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A status hearing on Feb. 7, for a 2021 shooting case resulted in the postponement of a trial before DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun.

Eric Latney, 27, and James Crossland, 27, are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, assault with intent to kill while armed, two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and assault with a dangerous weapon, for their alleged involvement in a non-fatal shooting. The incident occurred on July 8, 2021, on the 200 block of 56th street NE.

According to court documents, the victim was found at the crime scene with four gunshot wounds, and was transported to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. 

In the hearing, Nikki Lotze, Latney’s defense attorney, and Johnathan Armstrong, Crossland’s defense attorney, requested that a sample of DNA evidence collected for the case be split.

Prosecution held that the splitting of DNA evidence was typically a risk to the reliability of the findings. However, they weren’t sure and requested one week’s continuance to speak with forensic officials. 

The judge granted the prosecution’s request, giving them until Feb. 16. So the original March 18 trial date was vacated. 

Lotze requested Latney’s stay-away order from the District to be lifted as the family member he had been living with during his release will be moving to the city. 

She argued that the stay-away order was unfair to Latney because the prosecution had much stronger evidence against Crossland and they did not request a stay-away order. 

The prosecution responded that they would need to know the exact address Latney would potentially be moving to in order to determine if it was sufficiently far from the crime scene to amend the stay-away order. 

Judge Okun agreed with the prosecution, and temporarily denied the defense’s motion, telling them to refile it once they had more information.

Another status hearing is set for March 8. 

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