Week Ahead

Each week, Homicide Watch brings you a list of upcoming hearings in the cases we follow. All hearings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. unless otherwise noted. To add an item to the listing, email chris@homicidewatch.org. To see scheduled court hearings beyond next week, see our calendar.
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Frances Lyles Recants Guilty Plea: “I didn’t hurt my baby!”

The courtroom was silent Friday in the moments before Frances Lyles was expected to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and perjury.

Is this what happened?” Judge Jennifer Anderson asked Lyles after a prosecutor read the proffer of facts outlining the gruesome beating death of her 3-year-old son, Xavier.

Minutes passed while Lyles struggled to speak. Then, Lyles took a deep breath and answered, “Yes.”

But when the judge asked her to explain to the court in her own words the events that led up to her child’s death, Lyles was silent.
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Probable Cause Found in Murder of Government’s Witness

A judge found probable cause Friday in the case against Dwayne Williams in connection to the 2011 shooting death of Ronald Deacon Smith.

On Nov. 14, 2011, police found a lifeless Smith, 27, with a gunshot wound to the head, in the 1100 block of 21st Street Northeast, charging documents say. A second man shot in the incident survived.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner argued that the evidence proved Williams was involved in Smith’s death. “It paints a pretty clear picture of Williams’ involvement in the death of a Government witness,” Kirschner said.
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Tisheena Brown Sentenced to Four years in Prison for Death of Newborn Son

The fact that you caused your child’s death is as tragic as can be,” Judge Lynn Leibovitz told Tisheena Brown before her sentencing. “A child was vulnerable and didn’t deserve to die.”

Brown, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in May for the overdose death of her seven-week-old son Hakeem Brown in September 2013. She also pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. On Friday, Judge Leibovitz sentenced Brown to four years in prison.
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Murder Charge Dropped in Case Against Yvonne Simms

Prosecutors dismissed a charge of second-degree murder while armed Friday in the case against Yvonne Simms for the the fatal stabbing of her husband, Kenyatta Jordan, on September 13.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office moved to dismiss the case because of insufficient evidence at this time,” spokesperson William Miller said. “The investigation is continuing. Because the investigation is ongoing, we have no further comment at this time.”
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Mistrial Declared in Terrence Robinson Murder Case

Judge Robert E. Morin declared a mistrial in the case against Daquan Tinker Thursday, after a jury cleared him of two charges and convicted him of one, but deadlocked on remaining charges, including second-degree murder for the shooting death of Terrence Robinson.
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Partial Verdict Clears Daquan Tinker of Top Murder Charges

In a partial verdict delivered Thursday, jurors cleared Daquan Tinker of first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder, but found him guilty of robbery while armed.

The jury could still convict Tinker of second-degree murder.

Jurors believed Tinker to be an “aider and abettor” for the robbery of Antoine Boddie, moments before Terrence Robinson’s death.
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Chappell Jury Foreman: “There was very little question in our minds as to his guilt on the obstruction charges.”

A jury convicted Demonta Chappell of the murder of Stevann Moorer Thursday, plus two firearm charges and obstruction of justice. But immediately after the verdict was read, Judge Rhonda Winston said there might not be enough evidence for the obstruction charge, and she ordered lawyers from both sides to submit briefs.

This was a surprise to the jury’s foreman, Bill Schulz.

As jury foreman for this trial, I am shocked at Judge Winston’s actions regarding the obstruction of justice charges,” he wrote in a comment on this site. “This was a unanimous verdict and we had no trouble convicting the defendant on these charges.”

We asked if he would say more about Judge Winston’s instructions before deliberations began, and how jurors reached their verdict. He sent this reply: Read more

Demonta Chappell Found Guilty in the Murder of Stevann Moorer

A jury found Demonta Chappell guilty of first-degree premeditated murder while armed in the 2012 shooting death of Stevann Moorer.

Jurors delivered the verdict Wednesday afternoon after less than two days of deliberations.

During trial, an eyewitness testified that she saw Chappell shoot Moorer multiple times.
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Jury Begins Deliberations in Demonta Chappell Murder Trial

On Oct. 27, 2012, Demonta Chappell walked up to Stevann Moorer and shot him, prosecutors said in closing arguments Monday.

But that wasn’t enough,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica Sanchez told the jury. “He shot him two more times. But that wasn’t enough. As Stevann Moorer lay helpless on the ground, that man stood over him and shot him two more times.”

On Tuesday, the jury will begin deliberating whether Chappell is guilty of first-degree premeditated murder while armed, plus two firearm offenses and obstruction of justice, in connection with the shooting death of 26-year-old Moorer. Read more