Judge Rules Against Severance in Murder Case, Citing ‘Judicial Economy’

Judge Rules Against Severance in Murder Case, Citing ‘Judicial Economy’

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On April 9, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan made a decision regarding a homicide case involving two defendants. Rafeal Stevens, 39, and Jermall Johnson, 40, are facing serious charges related to the shooting death of 50-year-old Aniekobo Umoh in December 2022. They are accused of premeditated first-degree murder while armed, attempted robbery – felony murder, and multiple firearm-related charges.

In court, Johnson’s attorney had requested that the case be split, arguing that Stevens could provide testimony that might help exonerate Johnson of some charges. After reviewing the information provided by both defense attorneys, Judge Raffinan determined that there was potentially exculpatory evidence related to the felony murder charge but not the first-degree murder charge. As a result, she denied the motion to sever the case.

Judge Raffinan emphasized the importance of avoiding multiple trials for logistical reasons like recalling witnesses, assembling separate juries, and scheduling conflicts. Following the ruling, the prosecution made plans to drop certain charges to streamline the trial process and proceed with trying both defendants together for first-degree murder.

The trial is scheduled to begin in November, with a status hearing set for July 12. Stay updated on this case by following our coverage. Your continued interest and support help us keep the community informed about important legal proceedings in the DC area. Thank you for being a part of D.C. Witness.

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