Testimony began Tuesday afternoon in the trial of an alleged Syracuse gang member accused of shooting and killing a toddler.
23-year-old Saquan Evans is charged with second degree murder in the death of 20-month-old Rashaad Walker, Jr.. The baby was killed as he sat in his carseat in a van on November 28th 2010. Police claim Evans was targeted the child's father as part of an on-going feud between the Bricktown Gang and the 110 Gang.
The first witness called to the stand was Syracuse Police officer Scott Henderson. In a courtroom packed with both supporters of Evans and relatives of Rashaad Walker, Henderson testified that even though the baby had been shot through the head, at one point he regained consciousness and began to cry. The child was pronounced dead at Upstate Hospital later in the evening.
Tuesday morning, the prosecution and defense delivered their opening statements. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick plans to call Dasean Maddox to the stand. Maddox is expected to testify that he drove Evans to the scene and witnessed him firing into the minivan, firing all six shots and emptying a .38 caliber revolver. One of the bullets struck the Walker, Jr. in the back of the head. Police say the little boy was strapped in his car seat when he got caught in the line of fire.
The prosecution's case will also center on the fact that Evans was on parole and wearing a GPS ankle bracelet at the time, which traced his path to the crime scene and to his grandfather's house where police recovered the revolver wrapped up in two socks in the backyard.
During the trial, the defense will claim that witnesses identified Carlton Morman as the shooter and that Maddox was lying to investigators so as not to make him an accomplice. In his opening statement, defense attorney Edward Klein said, "80 percent of this case shows Saquan was in the car, but what 80 percent doesn't prove is that Saquan was the shooter."
But Fitzpatrick told jurors that Evans "intended to kill someone" in retaliation for the alleged shooting by rival 110 Gang members that killed former Henninger High School star athlete Kihary Blue two days before.
Judge John Brunetti told the jury of 8 women and 4 men that they could get the case early next week.
Evans will stand trial for Walker Jr.'s death in Onondaga County Court before federal prosecutors can try him under RICO laws. The feds have elected to not seek the death penalty in those gang-related charges.
If convicted, Evans faces a prison term of 25 years to life.
Our Jim Kenyon is covering the trial. Stay with CNYCentral.com for updates.