For each of the past three days that jurors have sat in the “21st and Vietnam” murder trial, 21-year-old Delrico Shuford has taken the stand, telling jurors about crew life, drugs, and murder on the Northeast DC streets he calls home.
Or called home.
Shuford now resides in witness protection, awaiting his own sentencing in connection with the “21st and Vietnam” killings. In April, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed and conspiracy in connection with the death of 17-year-old Tyrell Fogle.
He wrapped up his final day of testimony in the case Monday.
On the stand he told jurors that although he entered into a plea agreement with the government, his role in Fogle’s death was limited to that of a witness. He did not fire a single gunshot at Fogle on the night he was killed. The lone shooter, Shuford said, was Anthony Hatton. And Shuford tried to stop him from firing.
Hatton, along with co-defendants Jekwan Smith, Johnnie Harris and Stanley Moghalu are alleged to be members of a crew called “21st and Vietnam,” and are on trial for the murders of Fogle, Isaiah Sheffield and Steven Moore.
Shuford told jurors that he used to be affiliated with 21st and Vietnam, which is named after an area near 21st and I Street in Northeast DC where the group sold drugs. Shuford said that dating back to at least 2010 his crew and another group called “E Street” had been “beefing” for a reason he could not remember. That “beef,” Shuford said, ended Fogle’s life on August 29, 2011.
Shuford said that he spoke with Fogle months before his death and settled a misunderstanding that centered around a woman both men had dated. “We shook hands and left it then and there,” Shuford testified.
About two months later, though, on August 29, Fogle was riding his bike along 21st Street when someone else affiliated with 21st and Vietnam told him that he better not “bring his b— a— back.” So Fogle relayed the message to a friend, and a little later, Fogle’s friend and Shuford got into an argument, Shuford said.
Later that day, Hatton heard about the argument and tried to convince Shuford to find the guy, but Shuford wanted to “catch him later.” Hatton said, “F— that; come on!” and then ran toward Bennett Place NE carrying a 9mm Beretta and a ski mask. Shuford followed, he said.
Shuford testified that as he reached the intersection of 21st and Bennett he saw Fogle riding his bike and yelled out to Hatton, “No, brah. No, brah. Don’t shoot.” But it was too late.
Hatton fired 10 or 11 shots at Fogle as he tried to jump off his bike, Shuford told the court.
Shufford said that he yelled for Hatton to stop because Fogle “didn’t have anything to do with” the argument from a few minutes earlier. And although he never fired a shot at Fogle, Shuford pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed and conspiracy “because I was there and I had a firearm,” he said.
Prosecutors in the case expect the trial against Hatton, Smith, Harris and Moghalu to last another four weeks.
Megan Arellano contributed to this report.