Victim’s Widow Testifies About Deadly Five Dollar Dispute Between Father and Son

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On April 15, DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein heard testimony from a victim’s widow in a patricide trial allegedly sparked by an argument over five dollars’ worth of marijuana. 

Stephon Williams, 32, is charged with second-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol outside a home or business for his alleged involvement in the shooting of his 49-year-old father Stephen Magruder on Sept. 11, 2020, on the 700 block of 51st Street, NE.

According to court documents, Magruder’s wife and children were present at the time of the incident. 

She said she was putting her baby in his crib when she heard Magruder ask Williams for five dollars. She said she asked them to take their argument outside after Magruder became aggressive and began calling Williams names.

“My husband started punching Stephon and telling him to get out, get his stuff,” the witness stated. She described his punching Williams’ face, back, and chest while pushing him toward the back of the apartment, toward the bathroom and near the bedroom where the baby was sleeping. 

“I was trying to pull him off Stephon,” the witness explained. 

She said Magruder punched Williams so hard he fell at the bedroom entrance. When Williams followed the witness and Magruder back into the living room, the witness stated that she could see that Williams’s mouth was bleeding.

The witness testified that Magruder then pushed Williams insisting, “Get your stuff.” 

“Stephon yelled, ‘You’re not going to keep punking me or laying your hands on me,'” the witness recounted. 

At that point, the witness became emotional and the proceedings were briefly recessed.

When the witness returned, the prosecutor asked what names Magruder had called Williams. “He called him the B-word,” she answered. “He said to get the f*** out and called him a dopehead.” The witness said Williams didn’t make any comment or fight back. 

The widow told the jury she was standing behind Magruder, still trying to pull him away from Williams, when Magruder pushed Williams into the bathroom. She said she looked around Magruder and saw Williams pointing a gun at Magruder, who put up his hands. 

“His hands were up but I heard the pop. It was the same second,” the witness testified. She said she then dove into the bedroom next to the bathroom to check that her baby was okay.

“I remembered seeing Stephen on the ground. That’s all I could think of,” the witness said when the prosecutor asked her why she hadn’t told the police detective at her interview immediately after the incident that she had seen Magruder and Williams fighting. “But as time went on, yes, I remembered everything.”

In cross-examination, Williams’ defense attorney, Jason Tulley, asked the witness to confirm that the five dollars under dispute was to pay Magruder for giving Williams some of the marijuana Magruder kept in a box on the stove. 

“I wouldn’t know,” the witness said repeatedly.

“I would not know that,” the witness said again when Tulley asked if Williams had been afraid of Magruder. 

She confirmed Williams didn’t fight back when Magruder punched him, but instead started crying, saying, “Dad, I got your five dollars,” and, “Dad, stop. Dad, stop.” 

When Tulley said, “His voice was scared, right?” the witness answered, “Yeah.”

Tulley showed the jury footage from police body-worn cameras from officers who responded to the scene. In one video, Magruder’s widow tells an officer, “I ran to the living room and I heard a pop,” while in another, she tells an officer apparently contradicting her in court testimony, “I didn’t see it. I heard it.” 

Tulley also replayed footage of the witness in an interview room at the police station after the incident. 

During a monitored call to a friend before the widow’s police interview, she says, “No, I heard it. I guess it had to be in the f***ing bathroom.” Later, during the interview, the detective asks, “Did you see Stephon with the gun?” and the witness responds, “I didn’t see it.”

Tulley questioned the witness if Magruder had ever physically abused her.  The couple was married when the witness was 18 and Magruder was 41. Tulley referred to records of the witness having a bruised eye when police responded to their home to resolve domestic disputes. The witness said she did not remember although she previously testified there were issues in the marriage.  

In the redirect, the prosecutor asked the witness if there were other parts of her testimony today, besides seeing the gun, that she hadn’t mentioned in the police interview. The witness confirmed that her police interview hadn’t included testimony that Magruder punched Williams or that Williams had started crying and hadn’t fought back.

In earlier testimony, she described Magruder and Williams’ relationship as “a rocky father-son relationship,” but asserted she had never seen any physical conflict between them before the shooting.

“He treated me with respect–he was never disrespectful to me. We had a good relationship,” the witness said about her interactions with Williams.

According to the witness, Williams had asked to stay with Magruder and his family following the death of a mutual friend.

“They were grieving and bonding,” the witness testified regarding the days leading up to the shooting. 

The witness recounted bringing Magruder home from his job on the night of the shooting. 

The trial will resume on April 17.

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