Trial for Man Accused of Murdering 11-Year-Old Begins

Parties delivered their opening arguments in a trial for the man accused of fatally shooting an 11-year-old boy. 

Tony McClam is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the death of Karon Brown on July 18, 2019, on the 2700 block of Naylor Road, SE.

Prosecutors say an altercation broke out between two groups of kids, one of whom being McClam’s nephew. The other kids physically assaulted his nephew, and when McClam found out, he told him that they would teach the kids a lesson, according to the prosecution. McClam, 31, allegedly brought a gun to the confrontation, which prosecutors allege was used to shoot Brown. 

McClam allegedly bought the gun illegally out-of-state. One of the videos prosecutors admitted into evidence showed Metropolitan Police Department officers searching a witness’ apartment, where they found the gun believed to have been used during the shooting. The video clip showed the gun found in a bag next to children sitting on the couch, which the prosecution intends to use to help determine the timeline of where the gun went after the initial incident. 

The second video showed Body Worn Camera footage from a police officer who found a bullet on the child of a witness during a search. The prosecutor said the evidence of the bullet in his pocket corroborates the story a witness gave about handing the gun to her child to let him unjam it.

While defense attorney Jason Tulley agreed that an altercation broke out between a group of kids, including McClam’s nephew, he said the prosecution failed to mention how the other parents were involved. He said the other kids’ parents made the most significant threats towards McClam’s nephew. 

Tulley told the jury that McClam did not initially bring a gun when confronting the groups of kids. He only went back to get it when he realized there were grown adults present also making threats. When one of the other parents was leaving, they promised they’d be back with weapons and that is when McClam decided to use his gun, but his intention was only to scare the individual, according to Tulley. 

Tulley told the jury that McClam has vision problems in his left eye and did not see a child in the car. So while McClam shot at the vehicle and purposefully avoided hitting the adult, he, unfortunately, ended up striking the child, he argued. McClam’s ophthalmologist is slated to testify as an expert witness within the next two weeks. 

The prosecution filed a motion to prevent McClam’s ophthalmologist from testifying as an expert witness. According to prosecutors, because the defense was so late in delivering discovery, they have been unable to find a last-minute ophthalmologist willing to testify as an expert because of concerns over privacy information and patient relationships. 

Although the prosecution argued it would bias the jury if one doctor is identified by the court as an expert and the other isn’t, DC Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz denied the motion. He said that while the court won’t identify the doctor as an expert, there are no rules in preventing the prosecution from showing the jury all of his qualifications in order to demonstrate their expertise.

A sergeant with the MPD took the stand to analyze shell casings he collected from the crime scene. The defense asked the sergeant if he was aware that two different shootings took place on the same road earlier in the week. The officer said at the time, his team was unaware of the other shootings because they were out of his jurisdiction and that a different police district covered them.

The defense argued that it is highly possible that evidence between the three shootings such as shell casings and property damage could be miss-matched with the wrong case because they took place so close together. 

A member of the Department of Forensic Science is expected to take the witness stand to go over DNA evidence in the case later this week.