March 23, 2012
BOSTON — It was a stunning outcome in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday: No convictions in the trial of two men charged with four brutal murders in Mattapan two years ago. The jurors deliberated for days and deadlocked on nine charges against defendant Dwayne Moore. Co-defendant Edward Washington was cleared outright, prompting chaos in the courtroom and a strong sense of justice denied.
Washington had been accused of being the getaway driver. Moore, the alleged trigger man, was found not guilty on cocaine trafficking. The jury remained deadlocked on the other nine charges against him, including four counts of murder, leading Judge Christine McEvoy to declare a mistrial.
One of those killed was Amani Smith, a 2-year-old boy. When the "not guilty" verdict was read in his death, the courtroom erupted with emotion, fury, screaming and swears. "They’re cowards, cowards — they killed my little cousin," one woman yelled.
Several people had to be escorted out of the room. As the remaining acquittals rolled in, friends and family of the victims doubled over in disbelief.
"My daughter's gone. My grandson is gone and they get to walk away," said Cynthia Diane François outside the courthouse. "They killed people, they killed four people and get to walk away with it. We’ve been here, I’ve been here for over a month going back and forth through this trial and they get to walk out of this courtroom. They get to walk out of here. And there’s nothing I can do about it."
Washington will remain in prison on a charge of violating his probation. The duration of his time behind bars is not known. Moore will remain in prison as well for the time being; defense attorney Dan Conley made it very clear that Moore would be back in court soon.
"We will re-try Dwayne Moore — make no mistakes about that. And we expect the second trial that will come about in the next few months, that we will hold him accountable for these heinous crimes," Conley said. "We expect that the next jury that sits on this evidence and hears it and understands it as we do will find defendant Dwayne Moore guilty."
SOLVING VIOLENCE IN THE INNER CITY