In the two-and-a-half years that D.C. Witness has been tracking homicides, there have only been five jury trials resulting in a guilty verdict. This summer saw a lot of cases put to rest, as it takes months to years for cases to go to trial.
Out of the two-hundred plus suspects that have been charged with murder, only seven of those suspects have ever faced a jury in trial. A majority of suspects accept a plea deal and avoid going to trial, where they risk receiving a longer sentence or having to wait for trial.
Out of the eighty-four suspects, covered by D.C. Witness, that are pending their next court appearance, only three of them have not been held. Two of them were released to High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP) and the other suspect was released to a halfway house.
None of the forty-four suspects that have already been sentenced, were released prior to them being sentenced.
Delays in cases are due to a variety of reasons. Family members on both sides are often frustrated by the time it takes for attorneys, prosecutors and judges to find a common available time to schedule a trial.
In the case of the four suspects that D.C. Witness has seen go to trial, each of them had to wait more than a year before their trial to begin. Clifton Johnson, who fatally shot Dwayne Grandson in Nov. 2015, waited 528 days or 75 weeks between the day charges were filed against him and the day the verdict was delivered. Eugene Burns, who fatally shot Onyekachi Osuchukwu III in Nov. 2015, waited 81 weeks between the day charges were filed and the day the verdict was delivered. The time between Jonathan Taylor’s guilty verdict, for fatally shooting Dexter Motley in Aug. 2015, and the day charges were filed was 100 weeks. Delonte Wynn spent 103 weeks, waiting for a guilty verdict for fatally stabbing Darlene Bryant, from the time charges were filed. Mark Beasley, who fatally shot Darryn Conte in April 2015, waited 115 weeks between charges being filed against him and the delivery of a guilty verdict.
Once the verdict is delivered however, the verdict isn’t over. In the cases seen put to rest this summer, suspects wait months for their sentencing or for their plea deals to be delivered.