DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan presided over closing arguments in which the prosecution laid out a timeline of events before and after the murder of a woman who has been missing since 2019.
Darnell Sterling, 57, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on July 24, 2020, in connection to the sudden disappearance of his girlfriend, 34-year-old Olga Ooro. Sterling was allegedly the last person seen with Ooro before she was reported missing on July 17, 2019.
During the Sept. 30 trial, Sterling’s defense attorney, Howard McEachern, and the prosecution presented their final arguments. McEachern asserted that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove the alleged murder beyond a reasonable doubt, while the prosecution suggested otherwise.
Sterling and Ooro allegedly first started dating around 2019, and the first ever 911 call was made on July 13, 2019, according to the prosecution.
The prosecutor said that one of the neighbors in the apartment building heard Oora yelling for help as she and Sterling engaged in an argument that evening. Ooro was left with a busted lip.
The prosecution played security footage to the jury Friday, showing a car pulling up to the victim’s apartment building on July 17, 2020, at 12:17 am.
The defendant, who was wearing a white and blue striped polo, was seen following the victim and her son into the elevator.
Later, that evening, at 3:53 a.m., the defendant was seen leaving the apartment in a completely different outfit. He was wearing black clothing, while carrying a trash bag the prosecution said contained materials to clean up the murder.
At 4:11 a.m., the defendant drove from the victim’s building to his own apartment. Rather than entering the building through the main door, the defendant was detected by the cameras walking down the parking ramp. He changed his attire again that night.
At 9:35 a.m., the defendant went to a supermarket ATM to withdraw $500 and then later headed East on Route 50 towards Ocean City, where the prosecutor said he believes Sterling likely disposed of Ooro’s body.
In response to the prosecution’s argument, McEachern told the jury the prosecution’s claims were “convoluted theories without evidence.”
To strengthen his argument, he referenced DNA testing conducted by forensic scientists at Ooro’s apartment, where the alleged murder occurred.
The blood spot the prosecution said resulted from the murder was unable to be dated or identified. McEachern asserted that it could have been left by the last tenant as Ooro only lived there for seven months.
In reference to the argument that ensued on July 13, 2019, and Ooro’s busted lip, Sterling’s attorney said he believes it is unlikely that an altercation of that nature occurred if neighbors never called 911 or reported it that evening.
“Do not spend time on these red herrings,” McEachern told the jury.
Judge Raffinan excused jurors from the courtroom to begin deliberations.
The jury is expected to continue deliberating on Oct. 3.Follow this case