The trial of two men accused of executing four people on a Mattapan street began yesterday with a preview of legal strategies and emotional arguments that drove the victims’ relatives to flee the courtroom, sobbing.
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Edmond Zabin gave an explicit account of how in the fall of 2010 a “madman’’ shot the victims, including a 2-year-old boy and his mother, multiple times. He described it as a robbery that ended in a “death march’’ to a dark street where the bodies were found.
Defense attorneys then asked the jurors to do “the impossible,’’ set aside their emotions and focus on the evidence.
“This isn’t about a witch hunt,’’ said John Cunha, who represents Edward Washington, one of the defendants. “This is about the fact of the law.’’
Those facts, he asserted, will show that police chose to trust the word of a career criminal who lied to police to take the heat off himself.
“The evidence will show that this terrible crime that shocked the city, that shocks the city still, put a lot of pressure on the Police Department,’’ Cunha told the jury. “The evidence will show that the police took the easy way out.’’
Washington, 32, and codefendant Dwayne Moore, 34, are accused of storming the home of Simba Martin, a 21-year-old drug dealer, on Sept. 28, 2010 to steal cash and drugs.
After the robbery, Zabin said, they killed Martin, along with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Eyanna Flonory, her son, 2-year-old Amanihotep Smith, and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, 22, who was sleeping on Martin’s couch that night.
Zabin started his opening statement by invoking the memory of the youngest victim.
“Amanihotep Smith was and forever will be a 2-year-old little boy, a 2-year-old boy who knew nothing about drugs . . . who knew nothing about the code of the streets,’’ Zabin said.
He described how the bullets broke the child’s bones, causing relatives to weep and leave the courtroom.
The strength of the prosecution’s case could rest largely on the testimony of Washington’s cousin, Kimani Washington, who met Moore in prison and participated in the robbery.
Kimani Washington, who has agreed to a plea deal that would help him avoid life in prison, will testify against the two men, Zabin said yesterday.
Zabin said Moore and Kimani Washington hatched a plan to rob Martin and recruited Edward Washington as getaway driver.
But the plan ended in a massacre. Flonory was shot in the head. Her son was fatally struck when the gunman’s bullets ripped through her arms and hit the child’s chest.
Washum-Garrison was shot in the back. Zabin said Moore shot Martin several times, then as he lay bleeding in the middle of Woolson Street, shot him in the face, Zabin said.
The sole survivor, Marcus Hurd, who had come that night to buy marijuana from Martin, was shot in the back of the head and was left paralyzed from the shoulders down.
During their opening statements, defense lawyers pounced on Kimani Washington, a 36-year-old who has been accused of assaulting women, according to police records.
John Amabile, the lawyer for Moore, called Washington a liar who “bamboozled’’ police desperate to close a case.
“He’s a thief. He’s a misogynist. He’s a murderer,’’ Amabile said.
Amabile said that police combed the home where Moore had been staying like “legions of locusts.’’
They found, Amabile said, “not one shred of DNA, fingerprints, blood evidence, fiber, hair. Nothing.’’
But, Amabile said, a fingerprint was found on one of the three guns used in the robbery. That print belonged to Charles Washington, Kimani Washington’s brother, Amabile said.
Charles Washington, who has not been charged, allegedly let Edward Washington borrow his car so the men could drive it to the scene that night.
Charles Washington has been listed as a possible witness.
Hours after the shooting, police found Kimani Washington standing near the rented sport utility vehicle Hurd had driven to Martin’s apartment.
They questioned and released him, but arrested him three days later in Manchester, N.H., in a girlfriend’s apartment.
By then, Amabile said, he had learned that police found the stolen goods and one of the weapons believed used in the killings in his family’s apartment, where he had stashed it.
“He knows he’s dead in the water,’’ Amabile said. “He’s looking at life in prison without parole for what he did.’’
So he blamed the crime on others, an ex-convict and a cousin he hated, defense lawyers said.
During his interview with police, Kimani Washington said he was distraught over the death of the 2-year-old victim. But during that interview, he also told police that after he learned of the shootings, he went to a Hyatt with two women.
“He was so upset that he sets up this party at the Hyatt,’’ Cunha said. “Does Eddie Washington flee? No, he does not. He’s arrested in December at his job. That’s because he had nothing to hide and nothing to fear.’’
Zabin told the jury that they are the only ones who can determine whether Kimani Washington is credible. “Listen to what he says,’’ Zabin said. “An incentive to testify is not the same thing as an incentive to lie.’’
Kimani Washington’s lawyer, John Salsberg, could not be reached for comment last night.Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.