Attorneys presented their closing arguments Tuesday in the trial of two men charged with a quadruple murder in Mattapan.
Dwayne Moore and Edward Washington are accused of gunning down the victims after robbing a marijuana dealer. A fifth victim survived but was left paralyzed.
WBUR reporter Delores Handy joined WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer to discuss what went on in the courtroom Tuesday.
Sacha Pfeiffer: Delores, the defense attorney for one of the two defendants, Dwayne Moore, told jurors that his client is in his words “totally innocent.” Tell us more about that.
Delores Handy: John Amabile, the attorney for Dwayne Moore, opened his closing arguments by telling the jury in very dramatic fashion, “You have seen the executioner and his accomplice in this courtroom. They were on witness stand.”
He was referring to the prosecution witness, Kimani Washington, and his brother, Charles Washington, both of whom testified in exchange for a plea deal. Kimani Washington testified that he and the two defendants planned to go to the house on that night in September 2010 to steal cash and drugs, but he says he left before anybody shot.
Here’s defense attorney Amabile:
Is Kimani Washington capable of falsely accusing an innocent person? You know it. Would he fabricate a story to save himself? Is there any doubt in your mind about that? If Kimani Washington told the truth, namely that he gunned all these people down himself, do you think they’d make a deal with him?
Amabile went on to remind jurors that Kimani Washington himself testified that he threw away the clothing that he was wearing that night. And, Amabile says, there was a lot of political pressure for police and prosecutors to solve this case quickly.
And the attorney for the second defendant, Edward Washington, made basically the same case?
Yes, John Cunha, who represents Edward Washington, he also feels that Kimani Washington is the actual killer.
He told jurors that there’s not a shred of physical evidence linking his client to the case and he noted that the only fingerprint found on one of the guns used in the crime came from Charles Washington, the brother of Kimani Washington. Cunha said prosecutors made “a deal with the devil” when they offered the plea deal to Kimani Washington in exchange for his testimony.
So Delores, you said not a shred of physical evidence and, I take it, there’s also no forensic evidence linking the two defendants to the crime?
That’s what all sides are saying, and the only survivor, Marcus Hurd, who was shot in the head and is now a quadriplegic, could not place Edward Washington and Dwayne Moore there. He said he did not see their faces.
As I understand it, prosecutors had the final word today. What was the focus of their argument?
Assistant [District Attorney] Edmond Zabin says giving Kimani Washington an incentive to testify was not an incentive to lie. He pointed out that even [Kimani] Washington admitted his very prominent role in the robbery.
Kimani Washington is a gangster. Kimani Washington is a thug. Kimani Washington robs drug dealers. We’re not telling you to like him, we are not telling you this is someone we should be cozying up to. The question is not whether he is a good person or a bad person, how he treats women and children. The question is: Is he telling the truth?
And Zabin spent most of his time reiterating the gruesome nature of the crime — five people gunned down, four of them killed, including a 2-year-old boy shot being held in his mother’s arms. She was then shot again in the head.
And the court ended today with the judge giving instructions to the jury. She stressed they should weigh the testimony of anyone who has a plea agreement. That, she said, should be “scrutinized with great care.”
And the actual deliberations haven’t started yet.
Not yet. The jurors return to court 9 o’clock tomorrow morning and start deliberating.