Defense presents witnesses on day 3 of trial
The defense for Joseph Sentore Coleman Jr. rested their case Wednesday with witnesses who contradicted previous statements by the prosecution’s witnesses.
Both sides of the aisle are expected to make their closing statements today, before the jury is let out to deliberate the verdict in the case against Coleman, 38.
Coleman, who allegedly robbed and murdered Christopher Wilkins on Aug. 30, 2016, at 505 Park Ave., is already serving two life sentences for a double homicide on Halloween 2016.
Previously unknown to the jury, Louis Martin, frequent visitor of the Park Avenue residence, was called by Jeana Longo, Coleman’s attorney.
As Coleman and James Rooks allegedly entered the Park Avenue home with the intention of robbing the known drug dealers, Wilkins and Savoy Jennings, Martin said he was just waking up in Jeff Greene’s adjacent bedroom from a long night of doing drugs and watching movies.
“I was sitting in a chair, just closing my eyes,” said Martin, when he heard shouts from the second bedroom.
“‘I ain’t got nothing, I ain’t got nothing,'” he said a voice shouted.
“Then a pop… it was a gunshot,” said Martin.
Peering out from inside the room, he said two masked people came out of the room and looked at the body of Wilkins before running out.
“One was short, slim and was built,” he said. “One was taller with really dark skin… neither of them had dreadlocks.”
Martin said he was familiar with Coleman from passing him in the street, but was not a friend of his.
However, Martin said he was familiar enough with Coleman that if his face were covered in a mask that he would know.
“When they left, I waited two to three seconds. I see Chris on the floor,” he said. “I shook him,” but Wilkins didn’t move.
Martin said he alerted Jeff Greene before he left. The situation had “traumatized” him.
“I’ll be honest, I needed a drink to calm down, so I went to the bar,” he said.
Later that day in initial police interviews, Martin told police that he drank about a six-pack of beer.
Martin gave a description of the men he thought murdered Wilkins for sketches to be made of their faces after police insisted, he said.
“You can’t make out their features, but I know what I saw,” he said.
The defense also called John Greene, brother of Jeff Greene, and who lived in the second floor apartment of 505 Park Ave.
He too said he doubted Coleman committed the crime.
“(Coleman) had been there plenty of times,” he said, and didn’t need help figuring out the layout of the home.
John Greene testified that he had seen Brown — a native of New York — wearing a hat similar to the one found at the scene. Namely, a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball hat.
Although Wilkins’ killer is still legally unproven, Dr. Barbara Bollinger, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Wilkins, said she knew the man died immediately from the gunshot.
The projectile entered Wilkins brain near his left earlobe, passed through his cerebellum and brain stem, which collectively control balance, coordinating movement and breathing.
“I think this would have incapacitated him within the span of seconds,” she said.
Additionally, the gunshot caused “stippling,” she said, or abrasions from unburned gunpowder or debris, which typically indicates the gun was 12 inches to three feet away.
Coleman’s DNA was found on both the hat and a cut-off pant leg, which were used as disguises in the crime and discarded at the scene, said Regina Kuzero and Brittney Lenig, forensic scientists with the Pennsylvania State police, and Jennifer Bracamontes, a data analyst.
Though up to five people’s DNA was found on the two articles, Bracamontes said using a supercomputer to allow her to identify Coleman as the major contributor. This method does not allow anyone to learn when or how the DNA, which is typically obtained through skin cells, was rubbed into the masks.
The trial resumes at 10 a.m. today in courtroom three before Judge Marc F. Lovecchio.