ELYRIA — The 2009 murder of 18-year-old Marquis McCall was largely a result of turf wars between the south and west sides of Lorain, Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Sherry Glass argued Wednesday on the first day of Bohannon Miller’s aggravated murder trial.
McCall, who lived on the west side, was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2009, only hours after another Lorain teen, 16-year-old Christopher Hill, was gunned down.
In her opening arguments Wednesday, Glass said that Miller, who was Hill’s cousin, killed McCall. She said that Ray Fowler, a witness who was allegedly in the car at the time of the shooting, will testify that Miller was angry at west-siders for his cousin’s death.
“This was a retaliatory killing — a mistaken retaliatory killing,” Glass said.
But defense attorney Denise Wilms doesn’t agree.
“This isn’t some southside/westside gang thing … these people were friends,” Wilms said, adding that McCall and Hill knew and liked each other.
Lorain County prosecutors outlined the evidence against Miller, showing surveillance video stills of Miller in a gold Ford Taurus on the day McCall was killed and photos of the same car abandoned on the road after the killing. Inside the abandoned car, police found a shell casing which Glass called “the link” between the Taurus and McCall’s shooting death.
Glass said Miller often borrowed the Ford from a woman he knew in exchange for drugs and that Miller admitted to being in the car on the day of McCall’s slaying.
“The evidence is going to show you that whoever was in that car was involved in McCall’s death,” she said.
Yet Wilms said in her opening arguments that evidence connecting the car to the slaying is not enough to connect Miller with the crime.
“No one will be able to identify Bohannon (Miller) as the person in the vehicle,” Wilms said, adding that there is “no scientific evidence” to link Miller to the shooting.
Wilms also questioned Fowler’s credibility as a witness.
“He’s not an innocent bystander,” Wilms said of Fowler, adding that the man has agreed to testify to avoid murder charges. “He is doing this out of hopelessness and desperation.”