On the final day of Marlon Williams‘ retrial on a charge that he shot and killed Min Soo Kang, a courthouse confidante took the stand to share with jurors what Williams said outside the courtroom during his first trial.
“It’s time to put on my game face,” Williams allegedly told Alton Garbla as the two men got dressed to head back into court and adjusted one another’s ties. “If you didn’t know anything about my case, could you tell that I had murdered somebody?”
Garbla, then facing a jury on a charge of unarmed carjacking, said that he and Williams, then on trial for Kang’s death, would talk about their cases on court breaks in the “bullpen” at D.C. Superior court, where defendants are held when they are not in courtrooms.
Williams, “fighting a body,” felt that the case was in his favor.
Garbla told the court that Williams also said police had found a gun in his room but he had wiped the fingerprints off.
“They didn’t test the bullets found in the victim against the gun,” Garbla said Williams said.
Kang was found lying on a curb in the 3500 block of Croffut Place Southeast around 4:00 am Sept. 13, 2010. He had suffered several gunshot wounds, including three to his chest, and his 2010 Cadillac Escalade had been stolen; it was later found two miles away.
Prosecutors say Williams is responsible for Kang’s death. But Williams’ defense attorney says the government didn’t provide the whole picture and that they decided to “spoon feed the jury evidence.”
Williams is charged with first-degree felony murder. He was tried for Kang’s death in February, but a jury deadlocked after they could not reach a determination of guilt or innocence.
Williams was retried this week, and jurors heard closing arguments in the case Thursday afternoon.
According to evidence introduced at trial this week, just three hours and fifteen minutes before being found shot, Kang purchased two cartons of Newport cigarettes from a gas station in Virginia. Prosecutors believe that after the purchase Kang drove his Escalade to the 3500 block of Croffut Place SE and parked.
Prosecutors believe that while Kang was parked, Williams approached the vehicle, opened the passenger side door, shot Kang several times, dragged him to the ground, and then fled with the vehicle.
Kang was found lying on the sidewalk around 4:00 that morning. The Escalade was found in the 5200 block of Ames Street Northeast about 12 hours later, after OnStar disabled the engine.
Robert McCollum, an MPD crime scene technician, testified that more than 40 fingerprints were recovered from the vehicle, six of which matched Williams. The remaining prints were unidentified.
Russell Hairston, Williams’ defense attorney, reminded jurors of those unidentified fingerprints in closing arguments Thursday.
“You got a lot of people tampering with that car,” Hairston told jurors. “But [Williams] is who they wanted, and [Williams] is who they went after.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Wheeler, though, had an explanation for why no other suspects were arrested:
“The difference between [the fingerprints] is that those six prints led police to the gun,” Wheeler told the court.
The weapon Wheeler referred to had been found under a bed in William’s apartment.
According to forensics tests, that gun, a .45 caliber Hi-Point pistol, matched all three bullets recovered from the driver’s seat of Kang’s Escalade.
Biological tests, though, did not find any of William’s DNA, blood or fingerprints on the gun. Nor did any blood or DNA on the gun match Kang.
Jury deliberations in the case began a little after 3:00 p.m. Thursday and will resume Friday morning.