Kwan Kearney Murder Case Could Go to the Jury as Early as Thursday

After just two days of testimony, the Kwan Kearney murder case could go to the jury as early as Thursday afternoon, the Judge hearing the case said today.

Kearney, 20, is charged with shooting two Spingarn High School students in Nov. 2010. One of the students, De’Onte Bilbro, survived. The other, Joseph Alonzo Sharps Jr., was killed.

The government began presenting evidence in the case late Monday afternoon. On Wednesday Prosecutor David Saybolt said he expected to call just one more witness Thursday morning before resting his case.

At the end of Wednesday’s testimony, Kearney said he did not want to testify, although Judge Robert Richter told Kearney he could change his mind and urged him to make the choice for himself, not for his lawyer, his family or anyone else.

A Coolidge High School junior who was present at the shooting testified Wednesday, answering “I don’t remember” to nearly all of the prosecution and defense’s questions.

The youth, who was 15 years old in Nov. 2010, testified about the shooting during a grand jury hearing earlier this year. He has an immunity agreement with the DC Attorney General in exchange for his testimony but could have been charged with hiding a revolver, Saybolt said.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense attorneys read quotes from the boy’s grand jury testimony, asking him if he had said those quotes and if they were true, to which he would answer, “yes.”

In the grand jury testimony, the boy had said he did not remember seeing Kearney with a gun in his hand, only Larnell Allen.

Former D.C. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Sarah Colbin testified Wednesday that a gunshot wound to the abdomen killed Sharps. The bullet punctured a main artery that led to significant blood loss and blood entering his abdominal cavity, Colbin said. Sharps was also shot in his left calf and a bullet grazed his right upper back, but the fatal shot was to his abdomen, she said.

Metropolitan Police Department forensic scientist Jennifer Zeffer said the DNA on the Colt .38-caliber gun that was found in the 15-year-old’s room excluded Kearney and Jeremy Risper, another suspect in the case. But that did not mean the two did not handle the gun, Zeffer said. Having duct tape on the gun’s handle or using gloves or a T-shirt to handle the gun could have prevented DNA from sticking, she said.

The trial is expected to resume Tuesday morning at 10:15 a.m., beginning with testimony from a firearm expert for the government.

Judge Richter said the case may be given to the jury tomorrow after defense attorney Gene Johnson presents his case.

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