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Published: Thursday, 8/30/2012

Victim identifies alleged gunman

14 witnesses testify in trial over shooting at gas station that killed 1

Kevin James, 21, is charged with murder and felonious assault in a shooting at Gas & Go at Cherry and Bancroft streets. Kevin James, 21, is charged with murder and felonious assault in a shooting at Gas & Go at Cherry and Bancroft streets.
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Testifying that he still had the bullet in his body, Robee Ware told a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court that it was Kevin James who fired shots on a March night that put him in the hospital for three weeks and resulted in his friend's death.

An emotional Mr. Ware testified as one of 14 witnesses over two days during the trial of James, 21, of 425 Oakland St., who is charged with one count of murder and three counts of felonious assault, each with a gun specification.

James is accused of the March 16 shooting death of Montrese Moore, 19, at the Gas & Go at Cherry and Bancroft streets. Mr. Ware and Creonna Ballard, 19, were injured.

Mr. Ware broke down on the witness stand Tuesday as he recalled going to his friend's side outside an SUV parked in front of the gas station. He testified that he tried to get Mr. Moore away from the vehicle when he heard shots.

"I remember when he shot, I felt it," he said, pointing to James as the shooter. "After I got shot, I heard more shots."

Mr. Ware testified that he was shot in the abdomen and, after three surgeries and nearly 20 days in the hospital, doctors couldn't remove the bullet.

Testifying Wednesday was Ms. Ballard, who said she was at the gas station with friends when she heard gunfire. She said she was shot in the left foot but did not know who fired the shots.

Mr. Moore died of a single gunshot that entered his chest and pierced his heart. He ran several yards and collapsed nearby on Cherry Street.

Assistant Prosecutor Louis Kountouris told the all-female jury during opening statements that videos taken from the gas station surveillance system would show a crowd gathering at the gas station on the unseasonably warm night.

Mr. Kountouris noted that not only would the victims point to James as the shooter, but also the driver of the car in which James was riding.

Defense attorney Frank Simmons asked jurors to scrutinize the witnesses' testimony and look for inconsistencies. He asked the jurors to consider who among the witnesses may have a motive for testifying.

A video of the incident was played for jurors that showed several people -- including Mr. Moore -- at an SUV in the parking lot.

The video then shows the group running from the vehicle when a gun appears and is fired. Four shell casings were found and bullets were recovered from Mr. Moore and Ms. Ballard's shoe. Witnesses testified that the bullets were each fired from the same weapon, although authorities never recovered the gun.

Several officers and crime-scene detectives testified over the two days, including Detective Bob Schroeder, the lead investigator. He said on Wednesday that he identified those who were at the scene and was able to eliminate them as suspects in the shooting.

Judge James Bates recessed for the day Wednesday after the state concluded its case. He told jurors the defense anticipated calling witnesses today.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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