Walker and Yates are charged with first-degree murder in his death, even though neither of them fired the bullet that killed him. A third suspect, Meeko Carraway, pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April.
“It’s undisputed that the person who shot him seven times was Meeko Carraway,” prosecutor Emily Miller said in closing arguments, “but we have shown that without the words, actions and intentions of Chamontae Walker and Corey Yates, Darrel Hendy would not have died on Sept. 25, 2010.”
Walker and Yates have denied being involved in Hendy’s death.
Miller and her co-counsel, Sharon Donovan, based the bulk of their closing arguments on the testimonies of Walker’s ex-girlfriend and residents of the neighborhood where the murder took place.
The ex-girlfriend testified that she and Walker had broken up just hours before the murder occurred, and that Walker and Hendy used to be good friends. She said that Walker and Hendy weren’t speaking to each other and that Walker believed Hendy wanted to kill him.
A friend of Walker’s testified that the day Walker broke up with his girlfriend he was angry and said the only way for him to feel better would be if “someone died that day.”
That friend dropped Walker, Yates and Carraway off near 800 Southern Avenue in Southeast DC and went to smoke cocaine. Then shots rang out.
“Oh shit, I knew something was gonna happen,” the friend said, another witness told the court.
Later, Walker’s ex-girlfriend testified, Walker said Carraway had shot Hendy. Describing the murder, he said that Carraway, gun in hand, turned to Walker and said “I’m about to do it, cuz.”
The government argued that Walker and Yates were just as guilty of shooting Hendy as Carraway.
“In the moments before the shooting [Yates and Walker] did nothing to stop [Carraway],” Miller argued.
Walker’s attorney, Jeffery Lewis, asked jurors not to believe the government’s story. Calling Walker’s ex-girlfriend “reasonable doubt personified,” he argued that the she, in particular, was an unreliable witness.
Yates’ attorney, Todd Braunstein, said in his closing that Yates’ only crime was being present at the scene of the crime.
“Corey Yates was guilty of nothing other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Braunstein said that the witnesses he called corroborated his theory.
Those witnesses included Attorney Samuel C. Hamilton, who Yates had gone to a few days after the murder seeking legal advice.
Hamilton said Yates had given him a hypothetical situation in which someone had charges against them and asked if that person would benefit from an attorney.
Braunstein said that in this meeting Yates was trying to work out a safe surrender for Carraway.
While Hamilton said Yates didn’t give him any specific details, he noted that Yates seemed nervous. “He had concerns that someone might be pointing a finger at him,” Hamilton said.
The second witness was Metropolitan Police Department detective, Robert Cephas. Cephas said that Yates had made a statement concerning Carraway’s involvement, a statement that was used in Carraway’s arrest warrant.
Braunstein argued that because of Yate’s cooperation with police and the lack of evidence against him he should be found innocent on all counts.