The sole survivor of the 2010 Mattapan shootings that left four people dead, including a 2-year-old boy, is expected to be questioned under oath next week about his recent disclosure that he can now identify one of the killers, a reversal of his earlier testimony.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Charles Hely today ordered an evidentiary hearing during which survivor Marcus Hurd can be questioned by defense attorney John Amabile about Hurd’s dramatic change in his recollection of the brutal crime.
Hurd, paralyzed after he was shot in the back of the head, told a jury last March that the two men who shot him and four other people on Woolson Street wore masks or tightly pulled hooded shirt.
Two men, Edward Washington and Dwayne Moore were charged with the killings. A jury acquitted Washington, but deadlocked on Moore, who is now facing a new trial on four counts of first-degree murder next month.
Killed during what is now known as the Mattapan massacre were Simba Martin, 21; his girlfriend, Eyanna Flonory; her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith; and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, Martin’s friend who slept on a couch that night.
Hurd, on two different occasions since taking the stand, has now told law enforcement that he can identify the person who shot him as Moore. Amabile, Moore’s attorney, told Hely that he is suspicious about the way the new identification was made, and that he deserves the opportunity to question Hurd directly before the trial begins.
“It’s not clear when and how this identification came about,’’ Amabile said.
Amabile said that he received a one-page report from Boston police Sergeant Detective John Brown of the homicide unit in which Brown wrote that Hurd now “recognized the shooter.’’
When questioned by police on Aug. 8, Hurd said that when he saw Moore in the courtroom, he was able to identify him based on his “face and bone structure.’’
“Mr. Hurd said that during the night of the incident, the shooter was directly behind when he was forced to walk from Simba’s house up (Woolson) street,’’ Brown wrote. “He said that he made several glimpses around in order to make a move if the opportunity presented itself. He said that he could see some of the shooter’s face due to street lighting in the area.’’
But Amabile said that he has also been told by prosecutors that Hurd told a victim witness advocate a different account of how he came to allegedly identify Moore. In that conversation, Hurd allegedly said he recognized Moore’s build and skin color, but made no mention of being able to identify him by his face, Amabile said.
“The facts that are outlined there are totally inconsistent,’’ Amabile said.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin, who is chief of the homicide unit, told Hely that Amabile’s suspicions are groundless. He said that Hurd, who uses a wheelchair, was able to observe Moore closely in March as they sat in courtroom waiting for the jury to enter.
Zabin said the arrangement was made at the request of the defense, not orchestrated by prosecutors or police. “It’s simply incorrect,’’ Zabin said.
Zabin has argued in court papers that Hurd’s identification was not unexpected, given the trauma he suffered. “He saw the defendant during a period of great import and highly notable events from close range and recognized him when he saw him in person for the first time since the shooting,” he wrote.
After hearing from both sides, Hely ordered the hearing. He said that Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke, who will preside over the trial, will preside over the Sept. 25 hearing.Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org