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Published: Wednesday, 6/26/2013

Testimony begins in Moody Manor trial

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A woman who was in the Moody Manor apartment where an infant was fatally shot testified today that bullets fired through a a patio door pelted the living room walls, lodged into a couch, and narrowly missed hitting her mother.

Testifying in the murder trial of two men charged in the Aug. 9 death of 1-year-old Keondra Hooks, Tamatha Pride recalled hearing repeated gun blasts and the room filling with smoke, shattered glass, and the odor of gunfire.

"I couldn't believe what was going on," Ms. Pride told the jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

The gunfire struck Keondra and wounded her sister, Leondra Hooks, 2. Keondra died the next day in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the head.

Keshawn Jennings, 21, of 244 Wasaon St., and Antwaine Jones, 19, of 3145 Cottage Ave., are on trial for allegedly killing Keondra and wounding her sister.

They face charges of aggravated murder, murder, improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, attempted murder, and four counts of felonious assault, each with gun specifications.

Prosecutors told the jury on Tuesday in opening statements that Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones were members of the Manor Boyz, a gang affiliated with the Bloods, and that a rival gang Crips gang member was at the Moody Manor apartments that night.

Keondra and her sister were lying on the living room floor near the glass patio door when the gunfire from outside erupted and sprayed the room with bullets.

Leondra was struck in the chest and another infant who was lying on the couch was covered with broken glass but not injured.

Ms. Pride sobbed as she told jurors the babies' grandmother, Naomi Reed, scooped the bloody Keondra from the floor after seeing she had been struck.  She said Ms. Reed believed her granddaughter was dead because she was shot in the head.

At one point, Judge Frederick McDonald stopped the trial and excused the jury for several minutes because Ms. Pride was unable to speak without crying.

Ms. Pride, a great aunt of Keondra and Leondra, said she didn't realize that Leondra was shot until she lifted her shirt to see the blood from her wound.

Neither Ms. Reed nor Ms. Pride were hurt in the shooting.

Ms. Pride and Ms. Reed, who also testified, couldn't recall the number of shots fired into the patio door.

Jurors also heard the emotional 911 calls made to police dispatchers from inside the apartment on Kent Street in North Toledo as well as outside the complex.

Among the people who called the communications center was Demetria Johnson, the stepmother of James Moore, who is a co-defendant in the shooting death. Mr. Moore, 21, of 2037 W. Terrace View St, is not on trial in the case as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Ms. Johnson, who who has four children with Mr. Moore's father, told the jury that she saw two men run from Moody Manor after the shooting and jump into a moving mini-van. She said the vehicle was parked in front of her home on Vermont Avenue,

Testimony in the trial was expected to resume at 8:30 a.m. today.

Contact Mark Reiter at markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199



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