Commonwealth v. M.W.
Police responded to calls of shots fired and found the decedent lying in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound to the head. Police recovered surveillance video depicting M.W. running from the scene of the shooting with a gun in his hand. a hat near the body was recovered near the body with M.W.’s DNA on it. Witnesses were interviewed, and T.H. told police that he was walking with M.W. when a black Chevy Tahoe came to a stop on the block. The decedent got out of the car and M.W. fired two shots at him striking him in the head. The driver of the Tahoe, K.G. was also interviewed and recited the same story. An arrest warrant was sworn out and after being in fugitive status for over a year, M.W. was arrested. Believing that M.W. was being set up to be shot himself, the defense took note of several facts known at the preliminary hearing to lock the witnesses into their testimony for trial. First, it was known that the Tahoe was later searched at the hospital, and two firearms were recovered from inside. Second, video showed that after the shooting (the shooting itself was not captured) T.H. got into the Tahoe being driven by K.G. and left before police arrived. Third, the decedent’s blood was found on the door handle of the Tahoe. Knowing these facts, the defense locked the witnesses into testifying that neither of them touched the decedent’s body or attempted to do CPR. Second, both witnesses during their sworn testimony denied having any contact with each other prior to the shooting despite the fact that they fled the scene together. Prior to trial, the defense issued subpoenas for the witnesses phone records. At trial, the defense argued that M.W. was lured to the block by T.H. under the guise of helping him move some belongings- which was orchestrated by TY.H. throughout the day in phone conversations. The phone records in fact showed that M.W. and T.H. had over 15 conversations by phone the day of the shooting. More importantly, despite the witnesses’ claims they never spoke to each other, phone records showed that after just about every conversation between T.H. and M.W., there were calls between T.H. and K.G! In fact, there was a record of a 29 second phone call between T.H. and K.G. just 20 seconds before the first call to 911 reporting shots fired. The defense successfully showed that the decedent in this case exited the Tahoe with a gun pursuant to the set-up and that M.W fired in self-defense. The blood stain on the passenger door showed that T.H. scooped the gun from the decedent and fled the scene in the passenger seat of the Tahoe, which was why the decedent’s blood was found in the car. M.W. was found not guilty of Murder.