Prosecution Calls Final Witnesses in Murder Trial

Prosecutors called their final witnesses to the stand during a trial for the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Karon Brown.

Tony McClam is on trial for first-degree murder while armed in Brown’s death. If the defendant is convicted, prosecutors intend to seek a sentence of life in prison without release, according to court documents. 

McClam is also charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, assault with intent to kill while armed and carrying a pistol without a license outside of a home or business in this case.

The doctor who performed Brown’s autopsy the day after he was killed on July 18, 2019, took the witness stand during the Dec. 15 proceedings. The prosecution admitted photos from the autopsy into evidence and the doctor indicated the entrance wound in the victim’s top right back.

During opening arguments, the prosecution alleged that McClam bought the gun allegedly used to shoot Brown illegally at an out-of-state gun show. A member of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) testified that she looked up if McClam had a license to carry a pistol in DC and found that he did not. She also said that no one else in the apartment where McClam was living had such a license. 

McClam purchased the alleged murder weapon in 2019 because he was living in an area with high amounts of crime and shootings, according to his attorneys, Aubrey Dillon and Jason Tulley. Four days after opening arguments, the attorneys motioned to preclude prosecutors from cross-examining McClam on his prior gun purchases in 2013, 2014 and 2016 in the event he takes the stand in his own defense.

In the motion, Tulley and Dillon argue that any firearm McClam purchased or possessed besides the one allegedly used to shoot Brown is not relevant to the case and would be prejudicial.

“Even if Mr. McClam were to testify to the 2019 firearm purchase, this would not ‘open the door’ for the government to cross on prior firearm purchases, due to the risk of undue prejudice,” they state.

DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz has not yet made a decision on that motion. 

The prosecution also called an MPD officer who was at the scene of the shooting on the 2700 block of Naylor Road, SE, to the stand.

The defense’s witnesses included a member of the Office of Unified Communications who testified to a 911 call made the day of the homicide and a courtroom clerk who testified to an arrest warrant that was served in January 2020. A Metro Transit Police Department also took the stand.

The defense also called an MPD detective who investigated the fatal shooting of McClam’s brother. She said McClam testified during grand jury proceedings related to the homicide. She said McClam thought a member of his family was involved in his brother’s death. 

The detective also said that on the day of the shooting he got a call from McClam’s mother. She said she could hear McClam, and he sounded like he was crying.

The trial isset to resume on Dec. 16.