The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 10, 2013

Witness: Murder victim was still riled

JOHNSTOWN — Seconds before a man was shot and killed in Johnstown, the victim was still upset about being in a fight the night before, one of his friends testified Thursday.

The victim, 21-year-old J-Quan “Scar” Lewis, had slammed one of the defendants face-down in the parking lot of Edder’s Den, a bar in the city’s Oakhurst section, late on Sept. 30, 2011.

Around 2 p.m. the following day, Lewis was killed as he walked with his friend Hakeem Horton to several houses in the Oakhurst Homes housing project looking for some “weed” – marijuana to smoke, Horton testified on the second day of the trial of two co-defendants charged with the murder.

They are 30-year-old Marquis “G” Neal, the alleged shooter, and 29-year-old Anthony “Mack” Harvey, Philadelphia cousins who were staying in Johns­town.

Harvey, who had been beaten by Lewis, is charged as an accomplice for allegedly driving Neal to and from the murder scene.

However, it was Neal who had driven Harvey away from the fight, witnesses have said.

The trial, which resumes at 9 this morning, is being held in the Johns­town courtroom of the Central Park Complex.

Horton, who had been staying in Johnstown before the murder, recalled that Lewis had been “pretty mad” about the fight.

“I told him that he needed to calm down,” Horton said.

Horton said he recalled being told that Neal was known to carry a gun.

But “ ‘Scar’ said we should go press him. We should go get him,” Horton testified.

Then the two spotted Neal walking toward them, and Neal asked Lewis whether he was OK about the night before, Horton said.

“ ‘Scar’ said he didn’t want to let it go” and walked past Neal, nudging Neal slightly, Horton said.

At that point, “ ‘G’ pulled out a gun

and started shooting,” Horton said.

“ ‘Scar’ started to run. He (Neal) kept on shooting.”

As Lewis fell to the ground, Neal approached and shot him once more in the head, even through Lewis was saying, “No,” Horton testified.

Although other witnesses have testified that Harvey was seen driving Neal away in a minivan after the shooting, Horton said that he never saw Harvey that day.

Horton said he was frightened because he had never seen anything like the shooting before. He packed up and left town to return to live with family in North Carolina.

In an unusual development during the trial Thursday, John Crissman, another prosecution witness, testified that he had identified Neal from a mug shot published in The Tribune-Democrat as the man Crissman had seen firing a shot to Lewis’ head.

The pictures – provided by city police – were published by the newspaper Oct. 4, 2011, after the two men were identified as the suspects and charged with murder.

But when Crissman was asked to identify the shooter in the courtroom, he pointed to Harvey, not Neal, as the man he had seen firing in what the witness described as an execution-style shooting.

Both defendants – wearing dress suits, shirts and ties for the trial – are tall, slim black men with facial hair.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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