December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Witnesses unclear on shooter in fatal drive-by

Bohannon Miller

Bohannon Miller

ELYRIA — Oshea Noble told jurors Tuesday that he recalled seeing a car with its lights off before gunfire erupted at the intersection of West 13th Street and Long Avenue in Lorain on June 22, 2009.

“All I remember is all hell broke loose,” Noble said. “They started shooting.”

Bullets fired from the car claimed the life of 18-year-old Marquis McCall and left Craig Roberson wounded.

But Noble and other witnesses who have testified in the ongoing aggravated murder trial of Bohannon Miller, the alleged shooter, have said they couldn’t identify the gunman.

“I don’t remember any faces,” Noble said.

Laquan Wallace, who was with McCall, Roberson and others when the gunfire went off, said he thought the gunman was black.

Earlier in the trial another witness testified that he thought the shooter was light-skinned or Puerto Rican. Miller is black.

But Lorain police and prosecutors believe that it was Miller, a convicted gang member, who was responsible for the drive-by shooting. He was seen driving the gold Ford Taurus police believe was the vehicle used in the shooting earlier in the day.

One witness testified that an armed Miller drove by and shouted out that he wanted to know who had killed 16-year-old Christopher Hill in another shooting hours before.

Prosecutors have argued during the trial that the killing of McCall was in retaliation for the Hill shooting, which appeared to be part of a dispute between rivals on the city’s west and south sides. No one is facing charges in connection with Hill’s death, although police have said Avery Taylor and Andrew Lorenzana, who initially were charged in the case, remain suspects.

Larry Blake and Dale Atkinson also are facing charges for their alleged involvement in McCall’s death.

The gold Taurus was recovered by Lorain police on Caroline Avenue after a woman who lived there called police to report that she had seen four men park the car and wipe down the interior and the outside of the doors. She said she watched the incident from the windows of her home.

Maria Rojas testified Tuesday that she wasn’t able to see the men’s faces clearly enough to identify them, but she was able to describe them generally.

A few years after the shooting, she testified, police approached her with surveillance video and she was able to tell which of the men, based on their clothing and builds, had gotten out of which doors.

Defense attorney Denise Wilms questioned how accurate Rojas’ memory was after so much time had passed.

Rojas also acknowledged that she hadn’t wanted to testify in the trial and had hoped to remain anonymous when she contacted police. She admitted when asked by Assistant County Prosecutor Sherry Glass that she had been afraid of becoming involved.

Rojas wasn’t the first witness Glass has questioned about being afraid to testify. She asked similar questions of Roberson when he testified last week about being shot and only reluctantly identified Miller, although he too said he didn’t know who fired the gun the night he and McCall were shot.

Roberson denied he was afraid or was intimidated.

The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.