During opening statements Wednesday, prosecutors described six unarmed teenagers celebrating the Fourth of July, “just hanging out,” as one of the teen’s mother watched from the front porch.
Then, in a matter of seconds, three men wearing white t-shirts walked out of a nearby alley and opened fire. Four of the teens were taken to the hospital suffering from bullet wounds, one never came out.
Nineteen-year-old James Crevontai Key also known as “Poody,” died that night, July 4, 2012, from a single shot to the left side of his back. The bullet punctured his lung and aorta and exited through his neck, according to charging documents.
“Twenty-eight times, twenty-eight bullets, twenty-eight shots as they ran for their lives,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kirkoff, in opening statements in the case against Calvin Shaw Wednesday.
“He shattered their lives that day and this trial is about holding him accountable for his role in this shooting,” Kirkoff said.
Shaw is charged with attempted murder in connection with an April 18, 2012 shooting which involved one of the surviving victims from the July 4th shooting. Both shootings occurred in the 500 block of First Street Northwest.
Defense attorney Steven Kiersh asked jurors to keep each of the allegations separate and to question the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses, saying some have a personal bias against Shaw and others have prior convictions.
The prosecution is expected to call all surviving victims to the stand; four of the five identified Shaw as the shooter from a police photo array.
Prosecutors also plan to call two of Shaw’s girlfriends to the stand. One of them will identify Shaw’s silver car involved in the first shooting, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors anticipate the other girlfriend will testify that Shaw showed up to her house around 4 A.M. with three guns, one that matched the silver .45 caliber witness described was used by the shooter. Prosecutors also say the same witness will testify that Shaw told her he killed someone on July fourth.
Defense attorney Kiersh reminded jurors that opening statements are just a version of what the defense believes happened and said the evidence presented by them will not prove Shaw committed either of these crimes.
“What’s not in dispute is that this was a terrible crime, we are not disputing that,” said Kiersh, “It’s whether or not the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Calvin Shaw did this.”
This trial is expected to last six days and is scheduled to continue Thursday.
Correction April 15: The original story incorrectly stated which direction the guns were pointed in when they were fired. The error has been removed from the story.