Deliberations to Begin in Homicide Trial After Two Defendants Ac - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Deliberations to Begin in Homicide Trial After Two Defendants Acquitted

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After four days of testimony, the fate of two men charged in the drive-by shooting death of a teen in 2015, is now in the hands of a jury.

That’s after two other men charged in the case, were acquitted.

At the request of their lawyers, Jahaun Jones and Stephen Russell have been acquitted of all charges into the shooting death of 16-year-old Shakur Franklin.

The request was made after Eugene Husband, a key witness in this case, failed to appear in court to testify.

"The Commonwealth witness failed to appear,” said Russell’s lawyer Eric Hackwelder.  “Essentially, that witness was the only thing linking my client to the case.” 

The jury must now determine the fate of Keyshawn McLaurin and Demond Mitchell, who are the two remaining men charged with Franklin's death.

On Thursday, Mitchell took the stand, where he testified that he had nothing to do with the crime and maintained his innocence.

The physical evidence against him, a Central Tech football jacket, was determined that it belonged to someone else, so the only evidence against him is an eyewitness account placing him at the scene.

In McLaurin's case, investigators recovered his crashed SUV near the scene, and say he was the driver in the drive-by shooting.

Meanwhile, despite feeling joy over her son's acquittal, Jones' mother Tierra says her heart is also with Franklin's family.

“I would like to tell the family of the lost children, that I'm sorry that they are going through whatever they are going through,” said Tierra.  “I hate that you all have to go through all this hurt and pain.”

Deliberations are set to begin Friday morning.


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