Hamburger shooting trial turned on testimony of grieving mother, young boy
In the end, it came down to the eyewitness testimony of a grieving mother and a 10-year-old boy.
Tuesday, after about a day of deliberations, a D.C. Superior Court jury acquitted Terrance J. Jones, 20, in the 2008 shooting of Tanganika Stanton as she stood outside her apartment building in the 4900 block of Grant Street NE eating a hamburger.
Readers have asked several questions about the case involving the fatal shooting of the 18-year-old Northeast Washington woman police said was shot to death after Stanton and her mother refused to make Jones a hamburger.
Defense attorneys said police arrested the wrong man and highlighted portions of testimonies of two key witnesses during the week-long trial.
One witness who testified, Stanton’s mother, was shot in the foot in the gunfire. She said the shooter, who she had never seen before, wore long dreadlocks. But Jones never wore dreadlocks: His wore his hair short, twists that, unlike dreadlocks, can be easily unraveled.
Stanton’s mother said one of the last things her daughter said to her, was “Mom, he’s back and he has a gun.”
Jones's attorneys were also able to get a 10-year-old boy, who prosecutors said was an eyewitness to the fatal shooting while riding his bike, to say that he did not see the shooting -- but had only heard the gunfire because he was around the corner.
Prosecutor Jennifer Kerkhoff asked the boy again about what he had seen and he again said he had witnessed the shooting. But by then, the jury had already heard the boy’s testimony change.
Prosecutors still hailed the boy as courageous because he came forward to tell police what he saw when many adults who witness crime, especially homicides, fail to do so.
The boy’s mother said the boy has been traumatized since the shooting. His grades have suffered, she said, and he rarely goes outside to play.
-- Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Editors
April 14, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Homicide , Keith L. Alexander , Reader Questions , The District , Updates
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