Jury Deliberations Begin in Caribbean Festival Murder Trial

Jurors began deliberating Thursday in a first-degree murder case charging Deonte Bryant and Terrance Bush with the June 2011 Caribbean Festival shooting death of 43-year-old Robert Foster Jr.

During more than two weeks of trial, prosecutors argued that Bryant and Bush attended the festival armed with the intent to shoot rival crew member Terry Jimenez. When the three men engaged in a shootout, prosecutors said, Foster was caught in the crossfire.

But defense attorneys in the case claim that the two co-defendants shot back at Jimenez in self-defense, and blame Foster’s death on Jimenez, who they say initiated the confrontation.

Terry Jimenez decided Deonte Bryant and his friends didn’t belong in his territory,” Bryant’s defense attorney, Daniel Quillin, said Thursday. “It was because of [Jimenez] and his reckless actions, that Robert Foster Jr. is dead today.”

Foster was found on June 25, 2011 around 5:05 p.m. in the 700 block of Gresham Place Northwest suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. Two others were found shot, but survived. Foster was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Bryant, Bush and Jimenez, were arrested and held in Foster’s death.

In April, Jimenez pleaded guilty to three out of the original eighteen charges against him, which include second-degree murder while armed, assault with intent to kill, and aggravated assault knowingly while armed.

Bryant and Bush are charged with first-degree murder while armed and related weapons offenses in connection with Foster’s death. They also face assault charges related to the other people who were shot that day and survived.

In closing arguments Thursday, Bush’s defense attorney, Kevin Mosley, told jurors that Bush and Bryant had no choice but to pull out their guns and shoot at Jimenez.

Mosley said that Jimenez was a “crazed maniac” who was drunk and high at the time of the shooting.

Dalyon Young, [Jimenez’s] best friend, came in here and told you that Terry Jimenez was acting crazy,” Mosley said Thursday. “He said that Terry Jimenez shot first. He was hell bent on killing Deonte Bryant.”

Charging documents in the case allege that Bryant was a member of the “Clifton Terrace University” gang, a rival crew to Jimenez’s, “Hobart Stars.”

The day of the shooting, Bryant and Bush saw Jimenez at the Caribbean festival on Georgia Avenue, court documents state.

According to charging documents, when Bryant and Bush turned to leave, Jimenez followed them to the 700 block of Gresham Place Northwest. Jimenez then ducked behind a car and exchanged fire with Bryant and Bush, who shot at him while retreating toward Sherman Avenue Northwest, documents state.

In the shootout Jimenez and two others were shot and injured. Foster’s lower back and spinal cord were struck; he was pronounced dead hours later.

While defense attorneys in the case have argued that Jimenez initiated the shootout, and shot first, making him responsible for the shooting and its casualties, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff said Thursday that it doesn’t matter who started shooting first.

I don’t care who fired first,” Kerkhoff said. “But for all of them, this wouldn’t have happened. All three of them are responsible and deserve the blame.”

The case is scheduled to continue deliberations tomorrow.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Defense Attorney Kevin Mosley as Frank Mosley. We regret the error.

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