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Published: Wednesday, 7/3/2013

Testimony concludes in 'Moody' trial

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A jury hearing the case of two Toledo men charged in an Aug. 9 shooting that left a toddler dead and another wounded is expected to begin deliberating today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Prosecutors called their final witnesses Tuesday, while defense attorneys for Keshawn Jennings and Antwaine Jones said they did not plan to call any witnesses.

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. They face life in prison if convicted of the charges, which stem from the death of Keondra Hooks and the wounding of her 2-year-old sister Leondra.

Prosecutors contend Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones shot into the apartment believing a rival gang member was inside, but mistakenly fired into the wrong apartment. Pivotal to their case is surveillance video showing the defendants and James Moore coming and going from an apartment building at the complex just before the shooting.

Moore, 21, who is not on trial, testified last week that Mr. Jennings and Mr. Jones fired into the apartment then got into a van he had driven from Moody Manor to nearby Vermont Street. Neither co-defendant took the stand, although in videotaped interviews with police they denied any involvement in the shooting.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner, told the jury Tuesday that Keondra died from a single gunshot wound to the left eyebrow. She said the bullet traveled through the left side of her brain from front to back.

Ronnie Wingate, attorney for Mr. Jennings, asked Dr. Beisser repeatedly if Keondra’s bullet wound could have been from a ricocheting bullet based on the fact that the recovered bullet was deformed and there were jagged edges around the entrance wound.

Dr. Beisser said that was a possibility but that she had no way of knowing if that’s what occurred.

Among the other witnesses who took the stand Tuesday:

*Todd Wharton, a former forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, told the jury he tested five .40-caliber cartridges and 11 9mm cartridges taken from the scene. He could not match the 9mm cartridges to any of the weapons submitted by Toledo Police, although the .40-caliber cartridges matched a Glock .40-caliber handgun submitted to him.

* Toledo Police Det. James Couch testified that he recovered the Glock Oct. 9 in the 2900 block of Chestnut Street “a few blocks” from the Moody Manor apartments. He was responding to an aggravated robbery when the gun was discovered in a pile of trash, he said.

*Toledo Police Det. Kermit Quinn said a 9mm handgun recovered the night of the shooting did not match the cartridges found at the scene and was ruled out as a weapon used at Moody Manor that night.

After testifying that investigators did not find a witness who saw the shooters pull the trigger, Detective Quinn was asked by Andy Lastra, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, whether it’s typical to have an eyewitness to a homicide.

“Very rarely do you have an eyewitness to a shooting,” the detective replied.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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