Nearly two years after the death of Darlene Bryant, and a year after he was arrested for her murder, Delonte Wynn’s trial began.
More than fifty jurors cycled through the courtroom on Tuesday morning, but only fourteen people were left to determine Wynn’s fate.
Before delving into the trial, one witness’s testimony was highly debated. The witness had been met with charges of drug possession and attempted robbery when the prosecution allegedly offered a shorter sentence and then a reward of $25,000 in return for assistance with the investigation. The defense took issue with the testimony, claiming that it was, instead, a “story” made up for the sake of his own benefit. Ultimately, Judge Zoe Bush decided the witness’ testimony could be used so long as the jury is aware of the offer made to the witness.
According to a series of testimonies given to the prosecution, Bryant lived her days essentially homeless, making due with a stairwell in an apartment complex on the 4300 block of Wheeler Rd. The prosecution said, noting Bryant’s family in the audience, that her homelessness was not because she lacked a loving home. Instead, her homelessness was a choice she made so as to not subject her mother and children to her drug use. This made Darlene Bryant’s life especially difficult, one in which resorting to theft became the easiest means of making a living, the prosecution said. It was theft that motivated Wynn to stab Bryant in the neck, they claimed.
The defense argued that the evidence will show Bryant did not, in fact, steal from Wynn. Instead, Bryant borrowed his car and safely returned it the following day. Therefore, Wynn had no motive to kill. Wynn’s attorney repeatedly said no physical evidence exists to convict Wynn of murder.
The first witness to be called to the stand was Darlene Bryant’s mother. Dolores expressed her love for her daughter, tearing up at the sight of a picture of Darlene the prosecution used as an exhibit. From realizing Darlene was gay to helping her battle drug addiction, Dolores stood by her daughter, raising her two children who patiently sat in the audience. She admitted that Darlene had a reputation for stealing in order to pay for her drug addiction, and that her daughter was always in a place of danger. The last time she saw her daughter was the same day she was found dead.
The trial will resume Wednesday morning, proceeding with the testimony given by Officer Mcelheny of the Metropolitan Police Department. Mcelheny has patrolled the 4300 block of Wheeler Road “hundreds of times,” enough times to know which cameras would have caught the alleged crime on video. After some deliberation as to whether or not the cameras were able to capture enough footage, the trial came to a halt. The prosecution ended after showing footage of the victim sprinting down Wheeler Road holding her neck.