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.

Chappell’s defense attorneys argued that when the government chose to ignore key witnesses, the wrong man was arrested for murder.

These were people who were discarded, tossed aside by investigators and the prosecution,” defense attorney Chris Roberts argued.

Prosecutors say Chappell took matters into his own hands because he thought Moorer had broken into a relative’s home.

Doris Bronson, an eyewitness, testified that on the night of the murder, she heard a gunshot and turned to see Moorer fall to the ground. Chappell pointed the gun at his head and shot again.

Medical examiner Angellee Chen testified that the gunshot to Moorer’s head would have caused “instant unconsciousness.” She said the bullet was located in the right side of his brain.

According to AUSA Sanchez, “every time he pulled the trigger, he did it with the intent to kill and he had an opportunity to reflect on it.”

Sanchez called on the jury to consider Chappell’s obstruction charge as evidence towards his guilt in the homicide.

According to Sanchez, a handwriting analyst testified that two letters obtained by a D.C. jail were written by Chappell. “These are not the writings of an innocent man,” she told the court.

On May 21, the D.C. jail flagged an outgoing letter when the inmate’s name on the return address didn’t exist, Sanchez said.

Chappell, the prosecutor argued, was trying to ask someone to provide a false alibi for the night of the murder.

Make sure you don’t write me back because they read my incoming mail,” Chappell wrote.

In a cell search, the jail obtained a second letter in Chappell’s possession. Chappell said that Doris Bronson was his only eyewitness and was asking the recipient to provide a false description that would contradict her testimony.

We know Demonta Chappell killed Stevann Moorer because he confessed to it,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis told the jury. Chappell told an associate that “he saw the first shots go into Moorer’s body.” According to Kravis, Chappell said he wasn’t worried and that he was “cooling like a fan.”

When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” defense attorney Roberts said in reference to the government’s case. “It is often said by prosecutors that they don’t get to choose their witnesses. I submit that in this case, they did.”

The evidence in this trial is like a jigsaw puzzle,” AUSA Kravis concluded. “No one piece of that puzzle shows the whole picture, but the pieces do fit together.” According to Kravis, the reason those pieces fit together is because “the person who killed Stevann Moorer is Demonta Chappell.”

Additional reporting by Imari Williams

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