Mistrial in 2008 D.C. shooting case

Unable to reach a verdict, a D.C. Superior Court jury was declared deadlocked Wednesday in the case of a man charged with murder and other crimes related to a series of 2008 drive-by shootings in the District’s Trinidad and Kenilworth neighborhoods.

After five days of deliberations, Judge Thomas J. Motley declared a mistrial in the case against Antonio McAllister, 20, of Kenilworth.

McAllister was charged with 26 counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy, in the July 19 shootings that left one teenager dead and eight other people wounded.

McAllister was the lead defendant of five people charged in the shootings. On Monday, after a four week-trial, the jury acquitted three: Twin brothers Joshua and Christian Benton, 21, of Kenilworth, and William McCorkle, 25, of Trinidad.

The jury convicted Trinidad resident Marcus Brown, 23, of lesser charges including assault with intent to kill, conspiracy and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Prosecutors said the shootings were a result of a fight between residents of Trinidad and Kenilworth at a Waldorf go-go club, authorities said. They said McAllister was punched during the altercation. The fight continued as they drove back to their neighborhoods.

Alonzo Robinson, 13, who had come with his mother from Alabama to visit his ailing great-grandmother, was killed in the shootings. He was with his mother and cousin when they were shot outside his grandfather’s apartment complex at Queen and Holbrook streets NE. The teenager was shot in the abdomen and bled to death.

After Motley declared the mistrial, members of the nine-woman, three-man jury said they had trouble with the credibility of the testimony by the government’s cooperating witnesses, several of whom said the defendants were with them at the time of the shooting.

Defense attorneys argued the witnesses were testifying in hopes of seeking favor from the government in their own cases or sentencings and highlighted contradictions in their testimony from earlier statements to the grand jury.

“There was a lot of inconsistencies,” said a male juror.

“I’m sure there were other witnesses who saw what happened,” a female juror said. “If they had come forward, it might have been a stronger case.”

Sitting in the audience of the courtroom Wednesday for McAllister’s verdict were the Benton brothers, who were released from D.C. jail Tuesday after their acquittal.

Motley set a Sept. 6 trial date for McAllister’s follow-up trial. McAllister’s attorney, France D’Antuono, said she was “grateful” that the jurors “realized the government’s evidence was insufficient.”

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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