Witness Speaks to Alleged Abuse Incident During Murder Trial

Thank you for reading D.C. Witness. Help us continue our mission into 2024.

Donate Now

During a Sept. 22 jury trial, the prosecution called four witnesses to share their knowledge of body-worn camera and surveillance footage relating to the victim and defendant around the date of the murder.

Darnell Sterling, 57, was arrested and charged with the second-degree murder of Olga Oora, his 34-year-old girlfriend. According to court documents, Sterling was the last person reported to have seen Oora before her disappearance on July 17, 2020. 

A Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer shared her experience reporting to the Twelve12 apartment building located on the 300 block of Massachusetts Avenue, NW on July 13, 2019. The MPD officer said she was called to the scene after a neighbor of Sterling’s reported a noise complaint. The officer stated she noticed “fresh” bruises and wounds on Oora’s shoulder, knees, lips, and feet. 

The officer also said the victim was noticeably upset as she was “speaking loudly, crying, and just emotional.” When the officer went to retrieve Oora’s phone from the defendant’s apartment, she noticed “fresh red marks on the ground that looked like blood” outside of the apartment door.

In court, the officer identified photos she had taken of Oora and the blood on the floor.

In relation to this incident, the prosecution submitted a motion requesting Judge Maribeth Raffinan allow statements made from the victim to the EMTs.

“I was beating up by my boyfriend for no reason,” Ooro told EMTs on July 13, 2019, continuing, “can you just give me some bandage and a icepack? I don’t want to go to the hospital right now, I just want my phone.”

The prosecution also called the head of security, who was also the defendant’s neighbor, to identify Sterling in several security footage tapes the witness had pulled during the initial investigation. 

In the videos, the defendant can be seen entering the apartment building through the Harris Teeter parking garage at 4:11 a.m. on July 17, 2020, instead of entering through the front door.

A MPD detective from youth and family services was the first person to interview Sterling after connecting him and Oora’s child. According to the detective, Oora’s son was with his uncle and distraught he hadn’t seen his mother in two days. 

In the interview, Sterling responded “that’s crazy” when the detective told him Oora hadn’t been seen in two hours. He then said, “I called and texted her but she didn’t call me back.”

The detective’s sergeant also took the stand to confirm the footage shown to the court of the first interview with Sterling from her body worn camera.

DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan scheduled the trial to resume on Sep. 28.

Follow this case