Just hours after one of the worst killings in the city’s recent history, Kimani Washington was seen standing next to a sport utility vehicle stolen from one of the shooting victims, the keys in his pocket.
But when police took him in for questioning in the early hours of Sept. 28, 2010, they did not test his hands for gunshot residue, the lead detective in the case acknowledged in court Tuesday.
Later that September afternoon, hours after Washington was questioned and let go, police received an anonymous tip from a man who said that Washington once asked him to store a large, black firearm so heavy “you could work out’’ with it.
Sergeant Detective John Brown said on the witness stand Tuesday that police never found the tipster, who the defense suggested had information that could have undermined Kimani Washington, now the key witness in the prosecution’s case. Defense questioning also appeared to suggest that the police investigation was not as thorough as it should have been.
The testimony was startling in a case that rests largely on the word of Kimani Washington, a 36-year-old career criminal who has testified against his cousin, Edward Washington, and his one-time friend, Dwayne Moore.
Kimani Washington has testified that he participated in an armed home invasion at 23 Sutton St., seeking drugs and cash, but left before the shootings, which killed Simba Martin, 21; his girlfriend Eyanna Flonory; her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith; and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, Martin’s friend, who slept on his couch that night.
A fifth victim, Marcus Hurd, who went by Martin’s Mattapan home that night to buy marijuana, was shot in the head but survived. Now paralyzed from the shoulders down, Hurd is scheduled to take the stand Wednesday in what is expected to be an emotional day of testimony.
Brown, a veteran homicide detective who called the 2010 murders probably the most serious case he has ever investigated, had testified earlier in the day about Kimani Washington’s decision to confess his role in the crime and implicate his alleged accomplices.
Brown said that during a police interview in Manchester, N.H., where Washington was arrested four days after the killings, Kimani Washington crumbled when the subject of the 2-year-old came up.
“He became very upset,’’ Brown said under questioning by Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Edmond Zabin. “His body language became very defeated.’’
“Damn,’’ Kimani Washington muttered, then smashed his hands on the table and lowered his head, according to the testimony. “It was supposed to be a robbery.’’
Kimani Washington then agreed to talk, Brown said. The defense has tried to portray Kimani Washington as a liar who implicated two innocent men to save himself from a lifetime in prison. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors have agreed not to charge him with murder and will recommend he receive 16 to 18 years in prison for charges related to the armed robbery. Ultimately, a judge will decide his sentence.
Tuesday, Brown testified that phone records show a series of calls made from Moore’s phone to Kimani Washington’s phone in the hours leading up to the shootings.
Records show that three calls from Moore’s phone were also placed to Martin’s phone, the last made about 20 minutes before the shooting. Prosecutors have said Moore called Martin to lure him out of the house. Three calls or texts were placed from Kimani Washington’s phone to his cousin’s in the hours leading up to the killings.
Police found two guns in the bedroom of Kimani Washington’s brother, one a .40-caliber used in the killings. But neither of the defendants’ fingerprints or DNA was found on the weapons. A third firearm, a 9mm semi-automatic Cobray, which resembles a submachine gun, was also used in the killings, but was never recovered.
Kimani Washington has testified that Moore, the alleged shooter, used the Cobray, which was provided by Edward Washington.
During cross-examination of Brown, Moore’s lawyer, John Amabile, suggested that the Cobray belonged to Kimani Washington.
Amabile asked Brown to read aloud the transcript of the anonymous tipster’s call.
The tipster, who provided many accurate details about Kimani Washington, said that about three months before the shootings, Kimani Washington had asked him to “put up a large, black-colored automatic’’ handgun, according to the testimony.
The call came from a phone number that was later found to be among Kimani Washington’s cellphone contacts, Amabile noted in court. The phone number was also traced to the same Dorchester apartment building where Kimani Washington sometimes stayed.
Brown said that police went to the building to try to find the tipster but a woman they questioned there refused to reveal him.
“Did you subpoena her to testify before the grand jury?’’ Amabile asked.
“No,’’ Brown said.
Brown did not say why Kimani Washington was not tested for gunshot residue when police first interviewed him. In direct testimony, Brown had said that Kimani Washington was not tested because too many days had passed since the crime and gunshot residue is only noticeable for about four hours.
Police first spotted Kimani Washington around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 28, about 2 1/2 hours after the shootings.Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.