Family describes night of murders on fourth day of trial
“Oh my (expletive) God.”
That’s what Kristine Kibler, 50, screamed on Halloween night in 2016 seconds before she was shot and later died, according to Cheyanna Wright, who testified for the defense on the fourth day of a trial for Jordan Adonis Rawls, 27, formerly of the 1000 block of Race Street.
Rawls is accused by city police of going to the house with Joseph Sentore Coleman Jr. and Casey N. Wilson, who testified earlier he was the driver, with the intention of robbing Shane Wright, 25, of three pounds of marijuana, cash and pills at the residence in the 600 block of Poplar Street.
Wright said she awoke to the screams of her mother shortly after the then-21-year-old used marijuana and fell asleep.
Wright said she opened the door and saw a man in a black ski mask with a hostage hold around her mother.
“You were staring down the barrel of a gun,” said Martin Wade, first assistant district attorney.
Wright’s two children, ages 6 and 7, were in the home, but they were not harmed. Cheyanna, her boyfriend, and 2-year-old son also were in the house, but they were upstairs in a locked bedroom during the home invasion and also were not harmed.
When the gunman pointed the weapon at Cheyanna, she said she slammed door and locked it. That was the last time she saw her mother alive.
Wright was found shot in the chest and Kibler in the lower abdomen.
Wright’s body was found on the doorstep of the Poplar Street residence with gash wounds to the back of his head, consistent with a blunt force of a gun handle.
On cross-examination of Wright, the woman testified she had a “gut reaction” when she later told police she thought the gunman was another man than Rawls.
Defense attorney E.J. Rymsza questioned Agent Trent Peacock about his and other officers’ interrogation tactics after Rawls showed up at the police station unannounced 12 days after the double murder.
Peacock, the lead investigator, said the goal of interviewing Rawls was to “secure the truth.”
Rymsza asked Peacock, “Isn’t it true you said, ‘There’s some middle ground, you may not be the man who did it.'”
Peacock said at that time of the interview he thought Coleman was the triggerman.
About 12 days after the shooting, Rawls volunteered to go to police headquarters because he said his girlfriend told him his picture and a “whole bunch of crazy nonsense” was appearing on Facebook.
Rymsza characterized the police interview as becoming more accusatory as it went on, highlighting when Peacock told Rawls he knew he was not being truthful.
Rawls admitted to being in the car that the police had seized, which police believed to be used to drive up to and leave the scene of the double homicide.
Rawls was captured on surveillance in a restaurant and bar in the 700 block of West Fourth Street earlier in the evening. Rawls fingerprints were on the car.
Peacock acknowledged to Rymsza police investigators could not determine when the fingerprints were put on the car.
But Wade contended among evidence that points to Rawls being the shooter, is a .9mm bullet found in his Race Street apartment that experts determined had been loaded into the murder weapon.
An affidavit of probable cause was presented to the jury that said Rawls allegedly killed Wright and his mother with a .9 mm pistol that later was recovered in Philadelphia.
Rawls had traveled to Philadelphia after the shooting, Wade said.
Wilson pled guilty to third-degree murder, testified earlier in exchange for a sentence of 25 to 50 years.
Wilson said he agreed to
participate in what he thought was to be a robbery because he needed money to pay off a drug debt.
Wilson said he saw Coleman running and then heard the shots and then saw Rawls running out of the house to get in the car.
Rawls faces two counts of criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy as well as robbery, criminal attempt, possession of a firearm, having a firearm without a license and possessing instruments of crime.
While in custody, Rawls gave a partial confession, sufficient to find him possibly guilty of second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy. But Wade is seeking a first-degree verdict.
Coleman, 37, was found guilty last month of second-degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery and is awaiting sentencing.
Wade and Rymsza rested their cases.
The trial continues today with closing arguments from the attorneys before Judge Nancy L. Butts.