On November 27, 2018, 19-year-old Shaela Johnson was murdered in broad daylight on a street corner in Trenton, New Jersey. Based on the circumstances surrounding the killing and the surveillance footage of the killing itself, city officials believe Johnson’s murder was gang-related.
The Shooting Caught on Video
At approximately 2:15 P.M. on November 27, 2018, surveillance video captured 19-year-old Johnson walking on a sidewalk near the intersection of Stuyvesant Avenue and Hoffman Avenue. As Johnson was nearing the corner of the intersection, the video shows a black Nissan Maxima cross the intersection and, thereafter, come to a stop. After the vehicle stops, the video shows two men clothed in black and wearing hoods alight from the vehicle. After exiting the vehicle, the two men proceeded to fire gunshots in the direction of Johnson. Johnson, panicked by the gunfire, tried to seek refuge in a corner store located on the corner of the intersection. However, she after being shot multiple times by the two men, Johnson collapsed before crossing the store’s threshold. The video then shows the shooters return to the Nissan Maxima and flee the scene. Johnson died as a result of being shot multiple times by the two men. Police responding to the shooting confirm that more than 20 rounds were fired during the shooting. At a news conference convened the following day, Trenton city officials released statements confirming that the shooting was gang-related. Indeed, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora was quoted as saying that the shooting and resultant killing “[s]eems to be neighborhood violence, neighborhoods against other neighborhoods, almost turf wars[.]” To date, the shooters have not been apprehended or identified.
Video Surveillance Footage As Evidence Of Crime
While the shooters have yet to be identified, apprehended, or charged with the murder of Shaela Johnson, police may use the footage as a starting point to identify and arrest the assailants. Moreover, once the shooters are identified, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, in prosecuting the shooters, may be permitted to introduce the video as evidence at trial to convict the shooters for the murder of Shaela Johnson. When video evidence of a crime exists, it can weaken a criminal defendant’s defense against the crimes charged. This is so because video evidence shows a jury the events of the crime as they happened rather than having the jury rely on narrations of the crime set forth in the testimony of various witnesses. Accordingly, it may prove difficult for the shooters, if identified and arrested for Shaela Johnson’s murder, to present a viable defense against possible murder charges resulting from the shooting. Nevertheless, there are certain techniques an experienced criminal defense attorney can use to challenge video evidence. One technique is to file a suppression motion in an effort to exclude the video surveillance footage from evidence at trial. If this motion is successful, then criminal defendants may stand a better chance at trial because the prosecution will be precluded from showing the jury the video. However, if said motion is unsuccessful, then depending on the circumstances of the case, a defense attorney can challenge aspects of the video such as identification of the defendant during trial. Use of this technique may prove useful to the shooters who killed Shaela Johnson at trial, if a trial does in fact occur, because the shooters in the video are wearing hoods and their faces appear to be partially masked. Accordingly, a skilled defense attorney may be able to use the video to his or her advantage to prove that reasonable doubt exists as to whether his or her client committed Shaela Johnson’s murder.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Homicide Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with homicide in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with sexual assault, child endangerment, and burglary in Trenton, Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Princeton, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-587-9100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton, NJ 08619.The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.