Six months after a jury deadlocked on charges against Dwayne Moore, accused of the 2010 quadruple murders in Mattapan, prosecutors unveiled a new strategy: They will present taped police interviews with Moore that they believe show he had the means and motive to carry out one of the worst killings in Boston’s recent history.
To counter, Moore’s defense will apparently suggest that any new evidence and testimony presented in the trial would be merely a poor attempt to strengthen a case with a weak foundation.
The strategies were laid out before a mostly white jury, bused to Suffolk Superior Court from Worcester County, which listened to opening arguments Wednesday in a trial that could last through Thanksgiving.
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Edmond Zabin stayed true to the opening statement he made in the first trial, emphasizing the horror of that September night, particularly the shooting death of a 21-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith, who was found bleeding to death in his mother’s arms.
Unlike the first trial, Zabin told jurors Wednesday that they would hear that Moore told police that he once lived in the home of one of the victims, a 21-year-old drug dealer named Simba Martin, but was kicked out.
“You will learn as well from the defendant’s own statements that he was forced out of that apartment at gunpoint,” Zabin said. He did not say why.
Zabin said Moore knew there were drugs and money in Martin’s apartment and recruited Kimani Washington, to help him steal it. The alleged plan led to an armed robbery that ended in the killings of Martin, his girlfriend Eyanna Flonory, 21, her toddler son, and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, Martin’s friend, who was sleeping over that night.
In March, the first jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Moore, 35, and acquitted Edward Washington, 33, on the murder charges.
Zabin warned the jury that the defense would try to undermine Kimani Washington, a prosecution witness, and implored them to judge his credibility for themselves.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” he said.
As expected, during his opening statement, Moore’s lawyer, John Amabile, described Kimani Washington as a drunken, dangerous pimp who falsely implicated Moore to avoid life in prison.
Kimani Washington has said he participated in the robbery but left before the killings took place. He has agreed to testify against Moore in exchange for a lighter recommended sentence of 16 to 18 years on armed robbery charges.
But Amabile also went after Moore’s former codefendant, Edward Washington, describing him as a member of Kimani Washington’s “crime family.” Kimani and Edward Washington are cousins.
In the first trial, Edward Washington was characterized by his lawyer, John Cunha, as a man set up by a cousin who hated him. Amabile worked closely with Cunha during the first trial.
On Wednesday, Amabile said that the cousins, along with Kimani Washington’s brother, Charles, conducted criminal activities in Kimani Washington’s “gangster’s lair” on Fowler Street, where police eventually found a safe stolen from Martin’s apartment and one of the guns that had been used in the robbery.
Charles Washington’s fingerprint was found on one of the guns, authorities said. The murder weapon, a semiautomatic 9-millimeter firearm that fired 14 rounds, was never found.
Amabile also read to the jury some of the statements Kimani Washington made during the first trial.
“‘I don’t consider anyone more dangerous than me,’” he read.
“I’m not making this up,” Amabile said in a booming voice, his eyes wide with anger, a stark contrast to Zabin, whose style was measured, almost quiet.
As he did in the first trial, Amabile said that prosecutors have no physical evidence tying Moore to the crime. But he told jurors that this was “round two” and that some witnesses planned to change parts of their story, including Marcus Hurd, the sole survivor of the shooting, who had initially told officials he could not identify the person who shot him. Hurd was shot in the back of the head and left paralyzed from the neck down.
Hurd recently said he recognized Moore as the shooter all along but lied because he was following a code of the streets that forbade him from cooperating with police.
“Now all of a sudden, the evidence is getting better,” Amabile said. “They’re embellishing.”
Listening quietly were the parents of the murder victims, who later testified briefly to identify their children for the jury.
Few family members sat in the spacious courtroom Wednesday, unlike the first trial, when relatives and friends packed a much smaller room on the eighth floor. Then, relatives sobbed loudly and ran from the courtroom, startling the jury.
This time, there were no disruptions. Elvis Martin, Simba Martin’s father, cried softly when Zabin described his son’s death, but calmed down as a victim witness advocate rubbed his back.
Jurors did not appear to notice.