Jury: Man guilty of homicide
After nearly four-and-a-half hours of deliberation a jury in Lycoming County court found Knowledge Dante Frierson guilty of third-degree homicide for the October 2015 killing of Carolyn Barr.
Frierson also was found guilty of aggravated assault, tampering with evidence and three other firearm charges for illegally possessing the revolver that killed Barr outside of 421 Brandon Ave. on Oct. 13, 2015.
The jury found Frierson not guilty of attempted homicide, robbery and first- and second-degree homicide. First- and second-degree homicide each carry life sentences.
The verdict follows three full days of testimony breaking down the deadly incident just over two years ago.
Frierson went to the residence twice that night, according to testimony throughout the week.
Keith Freeman Jr. and Karina Washington were living in the home with four children. Freeman was said to have a steady flow of cash from drugs and high stakes poker games, making him a target for robbery.
Barr was an accidental victim who arrived to help, at Freeman’s request.
Freeman called her to pick Washington up from work so he didn’t have to leave the kids unattended, he said.
When Freeman was walking Barr back to her car, he said Frierson lunged at him. While the two were fighting, a bullet was fired, hitting Barr.
Frierson was hit by a bullet in the exchange of gunfire that followed as the two walked down opposite ends of the street firing at each other.
Police were able to trace Frierson’s path from the blood trail in the alley next to Brandon Avenue.
Near that path was a .357 revolver covered in blood that matched Frierson’s.
During closing arguments Thursday, Frierson’s attorney Robert Hoffa recounted the evidence found on the revolver.
When Frierson testified, he didn’t dispute that it was his blood. He said the gun was Freeman’s and he grabbed it during the struggle.
“We don’t dispute that,” Hoffa said. But what Hoffa did bring up was why no traceable DNA was found on the grip of the pistol.
During Frierson’s interview with police agents, he told them that what happened that night was a “robbery gone wrong” and only thinly affirmed he was there to rob the home.
“None of us could have put ourselves in Knowledge Frierson’s position,” Hoffa said. “Here’s a kid who was just told he’s being charged with homicide and he’s chosen to talk to police … two agents with a lot of experience, not knowing what they’re going to ask him next.”
After going through the core evidence the prosecution presented, Hoffa raised what he said still was missing from the case.
While testifying, Freeman admitted to calling a friend to come over that night. That friend, Tyson, brought a gun with him.
Another person by the name of Anthony came over sometime after the shooting, Freeman said. Neither Tyson or Anthony were found.
“Where are Tyson and Anthony?” Hoffa said. “Where are these people who could corroborate Keith Freeman’s story? They’re not here.”
In her closing argument, Assistant District Attorney A. Melissa Kalaus urged jurors to look at the whole picture rather than the bits the defense wanted to present.
Witnesses earlier in the week testified that they heard a couple of shots, followed by a group of shots from what sounded like two separate guns.
“This matches exactly with Keith Freeman’s testimony,” Kalaus said. “The number of shots are consistent with what the testimony showed.”
Kalaus also pointed out that Frierson only started calling for help once he was passed the place the handgun was found.
“Police hear no screams for help all the way up that alley,” Kalaus said. “What did he have to do first? — ditch the gun.”
The amount of blood found on the gun was a primary aspect of what Kalaus wanted jurors to remember.
“There’s too much blood on that gun to match Frierson’s story,” she said. “That much blood was on the gun because he was running up the alley, blood pumping, with the gun tucked into his pants.”
Frierson’s statements to police were used against him during testimony.
Rather than the life sentence attached to first- and second-degree homicide convictions, third-degree homicide means Frierson could be facing between 20 to 40 years. He will be sentenced on Dec. 21.