BOSTON — Testimony is expected to get under way Friday in the trial of two men charged in connection with one of Boston’s most notorious murder cases in recent history.
The courtroom was packed Thursday with relatives of the four people who were killed in a Mattapan neighborhood in the early hours on Sept. 28, 2010.
It was a crime so horrific, some members of the jury pool admitted they could not be impartial. It took three days to pick the panel. Their first duty was a visit to where the victims were found.
Accompanied by the judge and attorneys from both sides, the jurors walked the paths of those who died that night and viewed other locations connected to the murders.
In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin described just how each of the victims was shot.
“Her body raked with gunfire, bullets literally going through her arms,” he said, describing a young mother, Eyanna Flonory, killed as she held her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith. Tears flowed among the families.
“Nothing could have prepared Amanihotep Smith for the way his life ended,” Zabin said.
There were objections from defense attorneys as the prosecutor continued.
“I’m very worried that because of the nature of this crime you will be swept into the vortex and will judge the case on sympathy and not on the facts of the law,” said John Amabile, who represents Dwayne Moore, one of the two men on trial.
Moore and his co-defendant, Edward Washington, are facing a slew of charges, including four counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and armed robbery. They allegedly had gone to steal money and drugs from another victim, Simba Martin — Flonory’s boyfriend — at his house on Sutton Street.
A key prosecution witness will be Washington’s cousin, Kimani Washington. He said he went with the defendants to stage a robbery, but claims he left before the shootings. The defense said it’s a weak case because Washington is a career criminal who is testifying in exchange for a plea deal.
Among those in the courtroom was the mother of 22-year-old Levaughn Washum-Garrison. Zabin said her son had been asleep on the living room couch when the thieves arrived and marched him out into the street.
“Levaughn Washum-Garrison (was) shot in the back, the bullet penetrating his heart and lungs, and dumped in the hedges,” Zabin said.
He was Patrice Washum-Bennett’s firstborn. She’s looking for answers.
“Well, hopefully we’ll find out as this trial goes why he was there,” she said. “I do not know myself, because I would never have thought him being in that area. It’s a total surprise to me and everybody that knew him.”
In the days since the shootings, she’s repeatedly gone back to Woolson Street, where her son’s body was found.
“Yeah, to just wake up one day to know that you lost your child, in the manner that it happened, thinking that somebody is going to say something to you,” Washum-Bennett said, “hoping the ground talks to you, just searching, just a little lost. (I) want an answer, answers, that’s why I went back.”
And, she said, that’s why she will be in court every day for this trial — a trial that the judge said could last a month.