Prosecution Says Murder Victim Identified Shooter

During closing arguments in a murder trial, the prosecution said the victim identified the defendant as his shooter moments before his death.

Andre Becton is charged with first-degree murder while armed and two gun related offenses for his alleged role in the death of 35-year-old Darnell Peoples on the 600 block of Mellon Street, SE in 2016. 

“He was laying in the grass, struggling to speak,” the prosecution told the jury, referring to the victim. “Blood was gushing from his neck” when Peoples told police, “it was Dre from Trenton Park.”

The prosecution said Peoples was high on PCP, a mind altering drug, when he approached a group of individuals, including Becton, and made a homophobic statement.

“It was a tone-deaf comment that he made. It wasn’t a threat,” the prosecution said.

According to the prosecution, an eyewitness said Becton told Peoples to “get away” and started to curse. The eyewitness said she saw the two men “tussling” and then saw Becton shoot “downward” at Peoples. 

The prosecution also showed video footage of interviews with detectives in which Becton denied being involved, denied being threatened and denied acting in self-defense.

“He never thought the decedent was going to identify him,” the prosecution said. “He shot at someone who was not aggressive. He shot at someone who was not armed.”

Becton’s attorney, Jeffrey Stein, refuted the prosecution’s theory, saying Becton acted in self-defense after Peoples “grabbed” him.

“Mr. Becton was defending himself after the decedent attacked him,” Stein told the jury. “He didn’t intend to kill him.”

Stein said his client fired one shot, and when Peoples wouldn’t let go, he fired again.

Stein said his client lied to detectives about his involvement because he was scared he was going to get in trouble. Stein said Becton didn’t know that self-defense was a legal claim.

The defense also attempted to discredit the prosecution’s eyewitness by saying she was smoking crack and drinking on the night of the murder.

The jury began deliberating on April 3.