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Jury to Hear Recordings, Not Witness, on Murder

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2021 | Blog

A Bronx judge, faced with a witness who was reluctant to testify in the murder trial of a reputed gang member, said Tuesday that prosecutors could present records of statements the witness had made before being subjected “to threats and outright physical attacks.”

The defendant in the trial, Brandin Santiago, is accused of killing Nadairee Walters, 17, by firing a pistol into a crowd outside a house party in 2008.

Prosecutors said the witness, Theodore Edwards, had been intimidated on behalf of the defendant. An investigator for the Bronx district attorney’s office, Peter Moro, testified that Mr. Edwards had been beaten up by a group of men in 2009 and shot in the arm last week. Mr. Moro said Mr. Edwards had told him that Mr. Santiago could have instigated the attacks.

On Monday, an assistant district attorney, Nancy Borko, asked the judge, Anne M. Donnelly of State Supreme Court, to bar the press and the public from the courtroom while Mr. Edwards was questioned at a hearing to determine if he would testify in the trial. She said gang members had come to the courthouse and tried to frighten witnesses.

The judge ruled on Tuesday morning that reporters could be present for Mr. Edwards’s testimony. But after Mr. Edwards refused to answer initial questions, she instructed reporters to leave the courtroom. When Mr. Edwards apparently remained reluctant to testify, Justice Donnelly ruled that prosecutors could present to the jury the records of a conversation he had had with a detective and an audio recording of a conversation he had had with a prosecutor.