Day 2 of trial goes through forensic evidence
Accomplices who said they aided in a 2016 drug-related murder along Park Avenue testified Tuesday on the second day of a homicide trial.
Joseph Sentore Coleman Jr., 38, allegedly robbed and murdered Christopher Wilkins on Aug. 30, 2016, at 505 Park Ave.
Already serving two consecutive life sentences for a double murder two months after the supposed events in this trial, Coleman could be sentenced for a third if convicted of felony homicide.
In allegedly orchestrating the crime against Wilkins, Coleman reached out to Ariel Harlan to drive the get-away vehicle, Jamal Brown for inside information and James Rooks to help carry out the crime inside the home.
All of these individuals testified against Coleman.
Brown, who came from New York but has lived in Williamsport since 2007, said he worked under Coleman to sell crack cocaine.
Having failed to pay back several hundred dollars, Brown said he was “dodging” Coleman while walking along Park Avenue the morning of the homicide.
Brown said he was spotted as Coleman pulled up next to him in a black Dodge Dart with Harlan driving.
“He asked, ‘Do you want to clear the debt?'” said Brown. “He wanted to try and rob (505 Park Ave.) and was asking about layout and if it would be easy to get in.”
Brown said he agreed and told Coleman that Wilkins and his co-drug dealer, Savoy Jennings, sold drugs out of the home, but did not have any weapons.
The same day, Coleman came back to him along Park Avenue and said “it was a dub,” or he had decided to rob them.
The three allegedly left to go to Harlan’s residence to get a black bag carrying masks and guns, before going to a housing complex on West Eldred Street.
Rooks said he was arguing with his “kid’s mom” when Coleman came to the door.
“He said, ‘I need you for something,” said Rooks, before Coleman allegedly threatened his family by saying there would be “a problem” with them if Rooks didn’t agree.
He had never met Coleman before that point, said Rooks.
Some time before noon, the four drove to Cherry Street, which bisects Park Avenue close to the home of Wilkins and Jennings.
Brown said he and Coleman exited the vehicle when they saw Jeff Greene, who lives above the apartment of Wilkins and Jennings
“We go up to the car and Joe asked if he could rob the house. He said, ‘Yeah, as long as you don’t hurt my brother,'” he said.
Rooks then exited the vehicle. As Rooks and Coleman allegedly approached 505 Park Ave., Brown said he stayed along Cherry Street where he could maintain eye contact with the front porch and ensure the back door was unlocked.
When they entered the home, they encountered a man in the living room sitting on a chair with his back faced towards them.
Without turning, the sitting man asked if it was his friends, but received a hit on the shoulder with a gun as Coleman allegedly yelled to get on the ground.
The man who was sitting said his name was Tyrone Small. He also testified, stating he was recently released from prison and stopped by the apartment to pick up his clothes.
“They asked if anyone else was inside,” said Small. “They sat me up and walked me to the door” of Wilkins’ bedroom.
With a gun at his back, Small opened the door and laid face-down on the ground.
“They asked (Wilkins) where the stuff was at, he said ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ and then there was one shot,” said Small. “(Wilkins) just fell straight to the floor. One of the guys went through his pockets.”
Rooks, who peered into the room from the hallway, said Coleman “ran out of the room,” tugging at him to do the same.
The two threw a piece of their disguises, a hat from Coleman and a cut-off sleeve from Rooks, on the porch before running.
Shortly after the two men entered, Brown said, “you could hear a loud bang.”
“It wasn’t anything the construction workers were doing,” he added, acknowledging a nearby construction site.
Brown said he left the area and headed to a local bar on West Fourth Street.
Harlan, who said she didn’t remember much of the goings on before the shot, said she was on her phone while Rooks and Coleman were out.
“Joseph and Rooks were running towards my car,” she said.
Coleman got in the car and yelled, “Drive,” said Harlan.
Rooks said he ran to a nearby general store before going home.
The DNA at the scene was tested by Brunee Collbaugh and Kelsey Gober, forensic scientists with the Pennsylvania State Police. Both women testified to their part in determining that Coleman’s DNA was found on both the baseball hat and cut-off sleeve used as disguises.
The trial continues today at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom three.