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January 9, 2013

Trial opens against 2 in killing of N.Y. man

JOHNSTOWN — An eyewitness testified Wednesday in a Cambria County murder trial that Marquis “G” Neal, armed with a handgun, shot and killed a New York man on an October afternoon at the Oakhurst Homes housing project in Johnstown.

John “Mike” Morgan, who lives in project, was among opening witnesses as testimony got under way in the trial of Neal, 30, and Anthony “Mack” Harvey, Neal’s 29-year-old cousin. Both of the Philadelphia men are charged in the shooting death.

The victim, 21-year-old J-Quan “Scar” Lewis, was a New York City man who had been staying in Johnstown for several months prior to the Oct. 1, 2011, murder. The shooting took place around 2 p.m. near Building 42.

The trial is being held in the downtown Johnstown courtroom at the county-owned Central Park Complex. It resumes at 9 a.m. today.

Morgan recalled that as he left his apartment to go to a grocery store, he saw two men – later identified as Neal and Lewis – outside “and I heard a pop. I seen ‘G’ shooting ‘Scar.’ ”

Lewis then “took off running, and ‘G’ started walking after him shooting. He (Lewis) took off running across the street, zigzagging between cars. He tripped and stumbled and fell down, fell onto his face,” Morgan recalled.

At that point, Neal “walked up to him and stood over him and shot him twice in the head,” the witness recalled as he stood and pointed his arm downward to the floor to demonstrate the final fatal shots.

Neal then calmly walked to a parked red minivan, which another witness, Jeremy Rogers, said was driven by Harvey.

The whole incident took place within a minute, Morgan said.

District Attorney Kelly Callihan, in an opening to the jury, described the killing as senseless, cold-blooded and done in revenge for a beating that Harvey received in a fight with Lewis late on Sept. 30, 2011, at Edder’s Den, a bar in the Oakhurst neighborhood.

While witnesses to the fight were unable to say what had sparked it, Callihan suggested that Neal and Harvey had gone after Lewis to keep their “street credibility” because of the beating Harvey received.

Bradley Clark, an Edder’s Den bartender, said that Lewis and Harvey started to argue in the bar but he could not hear the conversation.

He said that he saw Harvey throw up his arms as if indicating, “I have no beef with you. I’m not going to fight with you.”

Because of the verbal confrontation, the bartender said he ordered the two men to “take it outside,” where he saw them fighting. Lewis twice slammed Harvey face-down to the ground, he recalled. Neal drove up in the minivan and drove Harvey away, Clark said.

The district attorney said that about 14 hours later, Neal and Harvey “were going there (to Oakhurst Homes) to avenge the fight, to settle the score, to seek him out and kill him. These two guys from Philadelphia were not going to let a young kid from New York embarrass them.”

Defense attorney Jerome Kaharick, who represents Harvey, told the jury in his opening that the prosecution’s case against Harvey is built on “imaginary evidence” and speculation.

Although Harvey is charged as an accomplice as the van driver, both defendants are on trial for criminal homicide.

If convicted of first-degree murder, each would face an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Defense attorneys Paul Eckenrode and Robert David Gleason, who represent Neal, deferred making an opening until after the prosecution rests its case.

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