Keshawn Jennings, left, and Antwaine Jones, right, stand at the defendants table after opening statements in the murder case of 1-year-old Keondra Hooks, who was shot to death in the Moody Manor apartments, at the Lucas County Courthouse.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Opening statements were held today in the trial of two men charged in the shooting of two young sisters last summer at the Moody Manor apartments.
Lucas County Assistant Prosecutor Andy Lastra said the bullets that shattered a patio door in one of the apartments the night of Aug. 9, killing 1-year-old Keondra Hooks, and seriously injuring her 2-year-old sister, Leondra, were meant for someone else.
“These unbelievable, tragic events that developed, we will show you, occurred because Keshawn Jennings and Antwaine Jones went to the wrong apartment,” Mr. Lastra told jurors in Lucas County Common Pleas Court during his opening statements.
He said Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones were members of the Manor Boyz, a gang affiliated with the Bloods, and that a rival Crips gang member was at the Moody Manor apartments that night. Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones, he said, were going “to go take care of business.”
Mr. Jennings, 21, of 244 Wasaon St., and Mr. Jones, 19, of 3145 Cottage Ave., each are charged with aggravated murder, murder, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, attempted murder, and four counts of felonious assault, each with gun specifications.
Mr. Lastra told the jury that much of the evidence would be circumstantial, that while they would see surveillance video of the men at the complex that night, they would not hear anyone say they saw them pull the trigger. Much of the account of what happened that night, he said, would come from James “J.T.” Moore, 21, of 2037 W. Terrace View St., a co-defendant indicted with Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones who is not on trial.
Mr. Moore reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that requires him to testify – a point defense attorneys pounced on during their opening statements.
“When you look at James Moore, you will see his plea agreement – three years. Three years. All he has to do is put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Paul Geller, attorney for Mr. Jones, told the jury.
Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones face up to life in prison if they are convicted.
Before opening statements were delivered, the jury of eight women and four men were taken by bus to the housing complex on Kent Street near Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center where the shooting occurred.
A court representative pointed out the apartment where the little girls were shot, a second floor window of an adjacent building, and the security cameras posted on the buildings across the yard from the murder scene. The bus also transported jurors down nearby Vermont Street where Mr. Moore allegedly drove the van that Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones got into after the shooting.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones are being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $5 million bond.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at email@example.com or 419-213-2134.