Lawyers React to Verdict of Summit Street Homicide Trial - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Lawyers React to Verdict of Summit Street Homicide Trial

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After four days of testimony and nearly seven hours of deliberations, a jury has reached a verdict against the two remaining men charged in a fatal drive-by shooting from 2015.

Keyshawn McLaurin, 20, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

"There was evidence we had to overcome,” said McLaurin’s attorney Gene Placidi.  “We just didn't overcome it."

At the same time, the jury found his co-defendant Demond Mitchell, 21, not guilty of all charges.

"We've been saying since day one, they have the wrong person,” said Mitchell’s attorney John Carlson.  “Nobody wanted to listen.  Nobody wanted to own up to their mistakes.   The jury clearly was listening."

Both men were charged with the drive-by shooting death of 16-year-old Shakur Franklin.

The shooting happened just before midnight on July 24, 2015, outside of a house party on West 29th and Summit Streets.

Throughout the trial, Carlson called this a case of mistaken identity.

"What happened in this case is horrible, and it's horrible on multiple levels,” said Carlson.  “It's horrible what happened to the victims and their families, and it's horrible what happened to Demond Mitchell and what he had to go through in the sense of the mistaken identity."

During the trial, Mitchell took the stand, where he maintained his innocence.

The only evidence against him, was an eyewitness account placing him at the scene. 

Investigators initially said a Central Tech football jacket found at the crime scene belonged to Mitchell.

But the lead investigator in this case said the jacket did not belong to Mitchell, while questioned on the stand.

Mitchells ex-girlfriend Lexxus Torres also testified, telling the court that she was hanging out with Mitchell at their home, when the shooting occurred.

“Probably the worst two years of my life,” said Torres.  “I'm just glad everything turned out like I was praying for."

In McLaurin's case, investigators recovered his crashed SUV near the crime scene, along with two guns and gunshot residue inside of his vehicle.

Meanwhile, Jahaun Jones and Stephen Russell who were initially charged in this case, were acquitted of all charges, after a key witness, identified as Eugene Husband, failed to appear in court to testify.

"Two individuals who I believe the jury would have convicted had Mr. Husband showed up, they got to walk out of the courtroom without any punishment whatsoever,” said Daneri.  “That's exactly what the community is going to get, as long as individuals don't want to come forward."

The shooting happened just before midnight on July 24, 2015, outside of a house party on West 29th and Summit Streets.

Four other teenagers were wounded, and 16-year-old Elijah Jackson was also killed in the violent incident.

Darion Eady, 23, was convicted of third-degree murder for Jackson’s death.

McLaurin is set to be sentenced on March 20, in front of Judge William Cunningham, who presided over the case.

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