WaPo Explores Witnesses in South Capitol Case

The Washington Post‘s Keith Alexander writes about how MPD struggled to find cooperative witnesses in the South Capitol Street murder case.

In the aftermath of a deadly shooting outside a party at a Southeast Washington apartment building, investigators searched for evidence that would positively identify one of their top suspects. But they never found it, and nobody came forward to name him.

As a result, authorities say, police couldn’t obtain the arrest warrant they needed to get the suspect, Orlando Carter, off the street. Days later, according to prosecutors, Carter drove a rented minivan while three of his friends opened fire on another group.

Jurors have heard from witnesses facing felony charges and others reluctant to speak. The trial could last months, and more than 100 could testify.

Morgan’s testimony was one of last week’s key developments in the government’s case against the five men charged in the shootings. It also illustrates a common frustration for District authorities who often struggle to find cooperative witnesses. Police say many are distrustful of them, while some witnesses say they fear for their safety.

“It’s very frustrating,” a homicide detective familiar with Orlando Carter’s case said in an interview. “We like to close these cases as quickly as we can, but you have witnesses who refuse or have that ‘I’m not a snitch’ mentality.”

Read the full story here.

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