The brother of the key prosecution witness in the case of a quadruple homicide in Mattapan said yesterday that he did not believe one of the men accused took part in the brutal killings.
It was an admission that seemed to bolster the case of the defense, but was drawn out under questioning by prosecutors, who appeared to want to get out the potentially damaging testimony before the defense could pounce on it.
The statement by Charles Washington, 31, was another surprising development in a case that so far rests largely on the word of his brother Kimani, a career criminal whose credibility has been attacked by the defense.
Charles Washington told a prosecutor he did not believe his cousin Edward Washington had “any involvement in what happened.’’
“Absolutely not,’’ he testified later, when pressed again by the defense. “No.’’
Kimani Washington has confessed he helped plan the armed home invasion that led to the killings of four people, including a 2-year-old boy and his mother, on Woolson Street in Mattapan.
Kimani Washington, 36, has said that he hatched the plan with defendant Dwayne Moore and recruited his cousin, Edward Washington, to drive to the scene and get one of the weapons. Moore and Edward Washington are charged with first-degree murder in the killings of Simba Martin, 21; his girlfriend Eyanna Flonory; her son, 2-year-old Amanihotep Smith; and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, 22, Martin’s house guest.
Charles Washington backed up his brother’s story yesterday that their cousin borrowed his BMW that night. He also said that his brother, cousin, and Moore were together at Charles Washington’s family home on Fowler Street in Dorchester in the hours leading up to the killings.
His testimony in Suffolk Superior Court was followed by two other witnesses, Kimani Washington’s fiancee and his mother, who said they saw Edward Washington with Kimani that night.
Charles Washington said that after a night of drinking and smoking marijuana, he stayed at home playing video games and watching television while the three other men left together. He was a reluctant witness who said he was testifying under the agreement that prosecutors would not charge him as an accessory.
In the days following the shooting, prosecutors say, two firearms, including one of the weapons prosecutors say were used in the slayings, were found in Charles Washington’s bedroom. The other, a .40-caliber firearm allegedly used during the robbery, bore Charles Washington’s fingerprint, prosecutors say.
The defense tried to portray him as a witness who went along with his brother’s version of events out of fear of prosecution and of Kimani Washington’s fierce temper.
Kimani Washington’s fiancee, Larrice Floyd, testified that Kimani urged his younger brother to be truthful about that night.
But at times, Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin struggled with Charles Washington, who was flanked by a lawyer and repeatedly said he could not remember details of that night.
While his testimony substantiated some of his brother’s statements about the night, it contradicted others. Moore’s lawyer, John Amabile, showed him a gun clip found in the Fowler Street home and asked when he had first seen it.
“Kimani showed it to me’’ hours after the shooting, Charles Washington replied. During his testimony, Kimani Washington said he knew nothing about it.
Kimani Washington also said that after taking drugs and cash from Martin’s Mattapan home, he left before the killings began, then returned to Fowler Street, arriving before the defendants.
Charles Washington said yesterday that Kimani Washington was back first, but during cross-examination he said he believed his cousin, Edward, arrived first.
Testimony yesterday also revealed more about the complicated relationship between Edward and Kimani Washington, who got into a bloody fight several months before the killings.
Charles Washington said his cousin was at times one of the few people who would stand up to Kimani, something his brother resented.
Floyd, who said she plans to marry Kimani Washington in March, testified that he and his cousin mostly stayed away from each other.
Edward Washington’s lawyer, John Cunha, repeated statements Floyd made about Kimani and Edward Washington when she testified before a grand jury months after the killings.
“There was always something between them,’’ she said in her earlier testimony. “They just didn’t get along.’’
Charles Washington acknowledged his brother had a violent temper and could be “intimidating.’’ Even though Kimani Washington stashed the weapons and some of the stolen goods in his room, Charles Washington said he did not ask his older brother much about the crime.
“You don’t ask any questions?’’ Amabile asked. “You just go along with whatever he says?’’
“Mostly,’’ Charles Washington replied. “Yes.’’
Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.