Sandra K Reabuck
The defense in the murder trial of two Philadelphia cousins charged in a Johnstown shooting death 15 months ago is expected to open late this morning after the prosecution rests.
The defendants – 30-year-old Marquis “G” Neal, the alleged shooter, and 29-year-old Anthony “Mack” Harvey, the accused driver of the getaway vehicle – are charged with criminal homicide in the Oct. 1, 2011, slaying of 21-year-old J-Quan Lewis in a daring daylight shooting outside the Oakhurst Homes housing project in the city’s West End.
Prosecutors say the two cousins acted out of revenge for a beating that Harvey had received from Lewis late on Sept. 30, 2011, outside Edder’s Den, a bar in the Oakhurst neighborhood.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today in the Johnstown courtroom in the county-owned Central Park Complex downtown.
Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case this morning with the testimony of city police Detective Sgt. Thomas Owens.
Attorneys Robert Davis Gleason and Paul Eckenrode, who represent Neal, and Jerome Kaharick, who represents Harvey, have not indicated whether their clients will take the witness stand in their defense.
Depending on whether the defense calls any witnesses, the jury of seven women and five men could begin deliberations late today.
District Attorney Kelly Callihan and Assistant District Attorney Tamara Bernstein are seeking first-degree murder convictions for both defendants. If there is a conviction under the criminal homicide charge, the verdict could range from manslaughter to first-degree murder.
Much of Friday’s testimony focused on a minivan allegedly used in the crime and the phone records of cell-phones allegedly used by the two defendants.
A 2002 Dodge Caravan, which was owned by Lisa Carothers of Johnstown, was found parked Oct. 13, 2011, in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Allegheny County Detective Daniel Soroczak testified.
It apparently was illegally parked.
The van had six parking tickets dating from Oct. 3 through Oct. 13, 2011, Soroczak said.
In testimony earlier this week, Carothers said that she had last seen the van on the day Lewis was killed. She said that Harvey, her boyfriend at the time, had taken the van to go to a grocery store for her. But he never returned.
Witnesses have testified that after the shooting they saw Neal jump into the minivan, which was being driven by Harvey. The vehicle traveled away on Grandinetti Street, with some witnesses describing it moving at high speed.
The two men allegedly were in close contact on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2011, through cellphones they used, although Johnstown Detective Julie Wagner agreed with defense attorneys that the records did not reflect who actually was using the phones.
There were 73 calls on Sept. 30, 2011, and 23 a day later. The last call made between the two phones was at 1:42 p.m., 28 minutes before city police were dispatched to the shooting at 2:11, Wagner said.
The final prosecution witness Friday was Dr. Curtis Goldblatt, a pathologist who performed the autopsy. He said that Lewis had died of three gunshot wounds, including the final fatal one to the right temple area.
The victim also was struck by a shot that hit him in the side of his right arm, traveled into and through the chest before exiting the body, Goldblatt said.
The other shot hit Lewis in the back and exited through the front of the body after hitting one lung and the aorta, Goldblatt said.
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