Deangelo Williams “committed the same offense he was trying to revenge,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy said in closing arguments Monday. “He took someone’s best friend.”
Prosecutors say Williams went to the neighborhood around Hobart Place on Feb. 19, 2011, looking for Terry Jimenez, who he blamed (according to prosecutors) for the 2007 shooting death of his best friend, Jonathan Franklin.
When Williams saw Jimenez with his best friend Lucki Pannell and his brother Bernardo sitting together on Pannell’s porch, “he ran up on that porch after pulling down his mask and opened fire on these three unarmed people, and in his own words, ‘let that motherf*cker rock,’” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Parikh said.
Williams is charged with first-degree premeditated murder for Pannell’s death and two counts of assault with intent to kill while armed for shooting Terry and Bernardo Jimenez. Williams also faces three counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Defense argued that there was insufficient evidence to convict Williams since Terry Jimenez was the only witness who identified him as the shooter. “Everybody wanted justice for Lucki,” said Veronice Holt, Williams’ public defender. “But that cannot mean injustice for Mr. Williams.”
According to the prosecution, Williams fired at Bernardo Jimenez first, hitting him in the left shoulder. Then he fired at Terry Jimenez as Terry was trying to get away. “Williams killed Lucki with a single bullet entering through the abdomen, traveling through her heart and to her shoulder,” said AUSA Parikh. Terry Jimenez sustained a bullet wound in his left thigh.
Police found Pannell suffering from a gunshot wound on the 3000 block of Sherman Avenue Northwest shortly after 7:00 p.m., documents say. She was taken to Washington Hospital Center where she died at approximately 7:41 p.m.
Both parties agree that Terry Jimenez, not Pannell, was the target. Prosecutors say Williams was retaliating for Franklin’s death, another violent act in a history of many that makeup a decade-long feud between the Hobart and Clifton (CTU) neighborhoods.
“This is the kind of moment when time stands still,” AUSA Rakoczy argued. “Terry tells you he looks into his eyes and sees the eyes of a child he used to play with, the eyes of a man who became a CTU member, eyes that were ‘low’ and ‘lazy.’ Terry saw the eyes of Deangelo Williams.”
According to Holt, the defense attorney, Terry Jimenez’ statements from his interview with police after the shooting were inconsistent with his eventual testimony and didn’t implicate her client. Prosecutors say this was intentional.
Terry Jimenez “was engaging in misdirection because he told you he didn’t want police to know who did it,” AUSA Rakoczy told jurors, referring to Terry Jimenez’ testimony. “He wanted to take care of it himself.”
Terry Jimenez, who moved to New York with his brother Bernardo after Pannell’s murder, “came back [to D.C.] for retribution,” Rakozcy argued. “Before he could do that, he ran into Deonte Bryant” and was arrested after a public shootout between members of CTU and Hobart killed an innocent bystander.
Terry Jimenez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the shootout. Rakoczy said Jimenez turned to police after he was incarcerated, when he was unable to avenge Pannell’s death and “take care of it himself.”
“This blind obsession with revenge is the same thing that drove [Williams], whose best friend was also killed,” Rakoczy concluded.