Closing Arguments Begin in ‘21st and Vietnam’ Trial

Closing arguments began Wednesday in the case charging four alleged members of a crew called “21st and Vietnam” with the deaths of Tyrell Fogle, Isaiah Sheffield and Steven Moore. Prosecutors in the trial say that defendants Anthony Hatton, Jekwan Smith, Johnnie Harris, and Stanley Moghalu, are linked to the shooting deaths by their loyalty to a group called “21st and Vietnam,” an area near 21st and I Street in Northeast DC.

The defendants in this case are charged with 21 counts including conspiracy, first-degree murder, obstruction of justice, assault, and weapons charges related to the 2011 shooting deaths of Fogle, Sheffield and Moore.

Prosecutor Laura Bach addressed conspiracy charges and weapon possession in today’s closing argument, saying Hatton, Smith, Harris and Moghalu never sat down and said “Hey, let’s conspire to murder and obstruct justice.” Instead, the men were bound by the common purpose to protect one another she said. And the testimony of Delrico Shuford, a former crew member, showed their loyalty to “21st and Vietnam”.

In July, Shuford testified that he used to be affiliated with 21st and Vietnam, and that the group sold drugs in the area known as Vietnam Court. Shuford told jurors that his crew and a group called “E Street” had been “beefing” for a reason he could not remember. According to Shuford, the feud between the groups led Hatton to chase an unarmed Fogle on August 29, 2011, firing and killing Fogle.

Bach showed jurors a September 2011 Facebook posting from Jekwan Smith that expressed Smith’s loyalty to “21st and I” until he “lay where the worms lay”.

Anybody have any question about what Jekwan Smith is loyal to?” Bach asked.

Bach told jurors that the testimony of Delonte Black illustrated that “a gun does not come by 21st Street without being bought.” Black testified that Kevin Charles and Delrico Shuford both shared guns with Delonte Black, said Bach.

On Thursday, Bach is expected to finish her arguments and attorneys for Hatton and Smith will make their concluding statements. On Friday, attorneys for Harris and Moghalu will conduct their closing arguments before the prosecution offers its final rebuttal.

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