Prosecutors Rest Following a Three Month Trial Focusing on Guns, Texts

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In a three month murder, conspiracy trial against three co-defendants, the prosecution rested its case after reintroducing its final three witnesses before DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt.

Koran Jackson, 23, Tyiion Kyree Freeman, 24, and Stephen Nelson, 33, are three of five individuals charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, assault with the intent to kill while armed, first-degree murder while armed, carrying a pistol without a license, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence in connection to the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Malachi Lukes on March 1, 2020, on the 600 block of S Street, NW. The shooting also left a second juvenile victim located in the vicinity suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the right leg. 

Throughout the trial, the prosecution has attempted to connect Jackson, Freeman, and Nelson to additional shootings that occurred on Feb. 22, 2020, Feb. 24, 2020, and a second shooting on March 1, 2020. The prosecution alleges a firearm conspiracy among the defendants in which they aimed to obtain and use specific weapons in Lukes’ homicide.

The case also involves alleged co-conspirators Reginald Steele, 24, and Aaron Brown, 27.

On May 14, the prosecution called back to the stand a forensic firearm examiner who analyzed firearm evidence seized in this case. The examiner stated he received the five firearms allegedly used to advance the defendants’ conspiracy. The weapons include a Polymer 80, Glock 19, Glock 22, Glock 26, and M&P 40.

According to the examiner, there were eleven nine-millimeter cartridge casings recovered from one shooting. After analyzing the evidence, the examiner stated that three of the cartridge casings retrieved were consistent with what would have been fired from a Polymer 80 and the remaining eight cartridge casings were consistent with what would have been fired from a Glock 26.

Jackson’s defense attorney, Brian McDaniel, argued that one cannot be certain the casings were fired from one specific firearm, and that this does not show that the same individual fired the guns. 

Prosecutors have previously provided evidence that none of the defendants were licensed to carry firearms in the District. 

Before resting their case, the prosecution called an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) who works in the Violent Crimes Department. He testified regarding the apparently coded text messages and Instagram direct message exchanges among phone numbers and social media accounts registered to the defendants and associates about getting and selling firearms. 

The witness was questioned about the semantics of the messages – for instance, “stick,” “dog,” and “joints,” which the officer interpreted as referring to firearms.

The prosecution rested its case.

Proceedings will continue on May 15.

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