D.C. man to be tried a third time in teen’s slaying

Prosecutors plan to try a District man in the killing of a 16-year-old for a third time, authorities said Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Gripkey told D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan during a hearing that his office intended to retry Raymond Roseboro, 21, on charges of first-degree murder in the Nov. 30, 2010, shooting of Prince Okorie. Okorie’s body was found in the 800 block of Fifth Street NW.

In September, for a second time, a jury failed for to reach a unanimous verdict in the case. After four days of deliberations, five jurors voted to acquit and five to convict, with two undecided. In March, a jury told a judge it was deadlocked, leading to the first mistrial.

Gripkey did not offer any new evidence against Roseboro on Friday.

During a hearing before Roseboro’s first trial, detectives said they thought Okorie was killed because of rumors circulating in his neighborhood that he was cooperating with police in their investigation into the Aug. 22, 2010, killing of Catholic University student Neil Godleski. That rumor turned out to be false, said prosecutors, who had not identified a motive in the case against Roseboro. Prosecutors are known to aggressively pursue cases involving alleged witness intimidation.

No DNA evidence or murder weapon linked Roseboro to Okorie’s death. During the latest trial, Gripkey — who led both prosecutions — called two witnesses who testified to seeing Roseboro about the time of the shooting, but only one mentioned seeing a gun in his hand.

That witness was alone with Okorie in his final hours and was not credible, argued Roseboro’s attorneys, James Rudasill Jr. and Anthony Cade.

The new trial is scheduled for Jan. 14. On Friday, Rudasill petitioned Canan to release Roseboro from the D.C. jail, to which Gripkey objected. Canan, citing Roseboro’s juvenile record — which is not public — denied the request.

Members of Roseboro’s family were in the courtroom Friday, and their groans could be heard after they learned of the prosecution’s decision. After the hearing, his mother said she wanted “her baby home.”

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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