Jurors in the trial against Raymond Roseboro began deliberations this afternoon in a case that previously produced two hung juries.
Roseboro is suspected of shooting and killing 16-year-old Prince Okorie in Nov. 2010.
But the case has been difficult for prosecutors to prove. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Gripkey acknowledged to the jury at opening statements Jan. 28 that the facts of the case were difficult, and witness recollections sometimes imprecise.
The first trial, which Judge Canan also presided over, saw the jury deadlock. Another trial before Judge Thomas Motley in July produced the same result.
Tuesday was Gripkey’s last chance to persuade this jury that Roseboro, Okorie and two other men were walking in the 800 block of Delafield Place Northwest when Roseboro suddenly pulled a gun and shot Okorie.
At trial, two witnesses testified that Roseboro was part of the group that November afternoon when Okorie collapsed to the ground from a gunshot wound to his head.
“Beyond every reasonable doubt, Raymond Roseboro murdered Prince Okorie,” Gripkey said.
Roseboro had asked Okorie to walk with him to a nearby store, and the other two joined, witnesses testified. Prosecutors contend that Roseboro sought out to kill Okorie specifically.
The defense, though, maintains that Roseboro was at home the afternoon of the murder, preparing to meet with a career counselor.
Roseboro’s mother, Raylette, testified at trial that Roseboro never left her sight from the time he arrived home from school at 4 p.m. until the career counselor left around 6 p.m. Police place the time of Okorie’s murder between 4 and 4:30 p.m. The first 911 call arrived at 4:25 p.m., prosecutors say.
Another witness who was also in the Roseboro home during the time of Okorie’s murder testified that though Roseboro was home, he had in fact traveled throughout the house and behind closed doors several times that evening before the career counselor arrived.
And Roseboro’s girlfriend testified that he had dropped her off on his porch after school that day, and didn’t return home until 15 minutes before the counselor arrived; the counselor arrived at Roseboro’s around 5:15 p.m., Gripkey said during closing arguments.
Gripkey said that phone records subpoenaed from Sprint showed Roseboro missed almost a dozen calls in the time between his dismissal from school at 3:15 p.m. and 4:46 p.m. Roseboro’s mother, too, didn’t call the career counselor, who was running late, until 5:13 p.m. to tell him her son was home waiting, the phone records showed.
Rudasill argued, though, that the real shooter is still at large.
“What Mr. Gripkey suggested in his argument is that somehow Mr. Roseboro’s mother had knowledge of these events and produced him an alibi,” Rudasill said during closing arguments. “But the government got it wrong. They bought the wrong story.”
Rudasill told the jury it was important they consider the evidence that was missing and asked them to find Roseboro innocent.
“This is the last play in my client’s Super Bowl,” Rudasill said. “All he wants is a fair call from you.”
The jury began deliberations around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and is scheduled to return for deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Sam Pearson contributed reporting.