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Opening statements heard in Blackshell trial

Local News

Opening statements began on Wednesday in the trial of Johnny Blackshell, Jr. He’s the alleged triggerman in the mass shooting last August outside the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester.

Blackshell is facing sixteen charges, ranging from first degree murder to criminal weapons charges.

He’s accused of killing Johnny Johnson, Jonah Barley, and Raekwon Manigault on the night of August 19 last year.

After a week and a half, a jury was selected and opening statements were finally made Wednesday afternoon.

The defense says the jury needs to come into this case with an open mind and make sure the prosecution proves without a reasonable doubt that Blackshell is guilty of the charges.

“I’m going to need you to put any emotional reaction aside as this trial begins and focus on the evidence,” said defense attorney Peter Pullano.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Crowley started her opening statement by listing the charges, and describing how the victims were allegedly gunned down while trying to flee.

“17-year-old Jonah Barley was walking on the sidewalk in front of the Boys and Girls Club getting ready to go home. When the gunfire started, he tried to run, but what he didn’t realize was he was running in the same direction the car was headed in,” Crowley said. “He wasn’t able to outrun the car. A bullet entered his arm, traveling through and out his shoulder and into the side of his head.”

The opening statements also revealed more details on how law enforcement arrested Blackshell. Investigators tapped his phone, and during a conversation, Blackshell told where he hid the alleged murder weapon.

Over 75 witnesses are expected to be called over the course of the trial. The first of those were called today, including the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.
 

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