Man Acquitted in Case Prosecutors say Was a Misdirected Revenge Killing

© Prince George’s County state’s Attorney’s Office Kaya Wilson, 29, died in November 2011.
© Prince George’s County state’s Attorney’s Office Kaya Wilson, 29, died in November 2011.

Deborah Wilson and her grandchildren will hunker down in a quiet place on Independence Day, far away from fireworks. The pops, bangs and flashes are too much for the children to take, echoing the noises they heard the day they were baking cookies in an Oxon Hill apartment when a gunman stormed in and fatally shot their mother. 

“They can’t even enjoy the Fourth of July,” said Wilson, who is raising her daughter’s children. “The sounds and explosions. They get upset and they start crying.”

In the more than three years since her daughter’s slaying, Wilson has tried to help her grandchildren recover from the trauma of watching their mother die. She also has been praying for justice.

After a three-day trial this week, a jury in Prince George’s County on Thursday acquitted the man accused of gunning down 29-year-old Kaya Wilson. Rashiek Bell, 24, was found not guilty of first-degree murder and several related charges.

Prosecutors alleged that Bell was the gunman ina retaliatory shooting that turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. But Bell’s attorneys argued that there was no physical evidence or credible witness who could place the defendant at the scene.

“I was really angry, because what it all boils down to is they took someone special to me away,” Wilson said of her daughter’s killing. “They took someone special to those children. They’ll never have that time back with their mother.”

Kaya Wilson, who was going to school to become a dental assistant, died Nov. 19, 2011. A day earlier, a well-liked amateur boxer in Oxon Hill named Jakari Butler, 20, was fatally stabbed, police said. Rumor in the neighborhood said Butler’s supposed killer — Kaya Wilson’s boyfriend — lived in a basement apartment at 1002 Marcy Ave., prosecutors said. So Bell and four other men, prosecutors argued, hatched a plan for revenge.

The night after Butler’s slaying, at least two men kicked in the door of Unit T-4 at the Colonial Village Apartments, police said. Their intended target was not there, but Kaya Wilson was at home with two of her children and her boyfriend’s two grandchildren, prosecutors and family members said.

Wilson scrambled to hide the four children under a bed, her mother said. Then one of the men shot her four times.

Afterward, Wilson’s daughter — the oldest of the four children — emerged and called for help.

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Source: The Washington Post | Lynh Bui

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