BOSTON — There are no guilty verdicts in one the most brutal murders in the Boston’s history.
On Thursday, Edward Washington was found not guilty of nine counts, but remains in prison Friday for a parole violation. The jury found Dwayne Moore not guilty of drug trafficking but deadlocked on the remaining charges, triggering a mistrial. After the verdicts were read, the courtroom erupted into chaos.
The sister of Eyanna Flonory, who was shot and killed along with her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith, had to be subdued and taken out of the courtroom by three officers.
Other family members and friends of the shooting victims Simba Martin, Levaughn Washum-Garrison and Marcus Hurd were equally distraught — screaming obscenities, crying and lashing out. They feel justice has not been served.
The shootings happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 28, 2010. After an alleged drug robbery, five people were shot at close range in Mattapan. Because a toddler was killed in the arms of his mother, it’s known as one of the most brutal murders in the city’s history, but at this point, no one is going to jail for it. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley says he won’t accept that.
“We will retry Dwayne Moore, make no mistake about that, and we expect in the second trial, that will come about in the next few months, that we will hold him accountable for these heinous crimes,” said Conley. “We always believed the evidence suggested firmly and strongly that Dwayne Moore was the executioner here.”
But the jury couldn’t agree on the charges against 34-year-old Moore; 32-year-old Washington was found not guilty of the nine charges against him, including four counts of first degree murder, aggravated assault and other crimes.
Washington’s attorney, John Cunha, says he’s happy the jury saw his client’s innocence.
“We’re obviously very gratified,” Cunha said. “The jury did its job. The evidence was not there, it’s clear that Kimani Washington had it out for my client. The jury saw through it.”
Kimani Washington is Edward Washington’s cousin and was the prosecution’s key witness. Washington admits to taking part in the robbery but says he did not shoot the victims, Moore did. In exchange for his testimony the state will recommend a shorter sentence for him: a maximum of 18 years in jail.
The defense argued Kimani Washington was the killer. During the trial Kimani Washington admitted to drinking heavily on the night of the crimes and being an angry drunk. He also admitted to robbing drug dealers frequently, smoking pot, and pimping women. There was no forensic evidence presented that linked Edward Washington or Moore to the crime. The only survivor of the shooting, Hurd, gave riveting testimony but said he never saw the shooter’s face.
John Amabile, the lawyer for Moore, says the evidence presented was below the standard of proof and he’s grateful the jury did not return a guilty verdict against his client.
“I think the jury had an unbelievably difficult thing to do to overcome the enormous pressure to convict in this crime and fortunately they didn’t do it as to either defendant and did the absolutely right thing as regard to Eddy Washington,” Amabile said.
The testimony in this trial lasted a month and the jury took nearly seven days to decide the case — a longer time than most trails. They came to the judge Monday to say they had decided on 10 of the counts but were deadlocked 11-1 on the remaining nine. The judge sent them back to deliberate. Thursday, when they again said they were stuck, the judge said by law she couldn’t force them to continue, they had to unanimously agree. They did agree to enter the seventh day of deliberations, but my midday Thursday they were still a hung jury.
DA Conley says from interpreting the jury’s questions and notes, he speculates they were close to convicting Moore.
“If I can glean something from the discussion it appears that they were 11-1 for conviction, but I will not know the answer to that, it may come to light in the next several days,” he said.
Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement that it’s hard to accept decisions like this one but he urged people not to act on raw emotion. As a precaution, he stepped up police patrols in Mattapan.