YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Jurors in a double-murder in Youngstown toured a crime scene on the city’s east side Tuesday morning.
Hakeem Henderson and Michael Austin are both charged with aggravated murder in connection to two shooting deaths in November 2011. The bodies of Adam Christian and Raymond Hayes were found days apart in a Youngstown field.
Police believe the men were part of a large drug ring that might have been behind these murders, as well as the deaths of Ryan Slade and Keara McCullough.
Opening arguments began Tuesday afternoon after the jury’s tour. Attorneys for both men and the prosecution laid out their cases.
The prosecutor told the jury about the heinous ways the victims were shot. Prosecutors said one victim was shot twice in the back of the head, another was shot 18 times and a third victim was shot four times in the back.
“After you have seen all the evidence, once you have heard all the evidence, you will see this isn’t some frayed, flimsy rope. This is a rope so strong…that it ties the defendant to each and every one of these crimes,” said Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Marty Desmond. “As the evidence is going to show, they are the organization’s hit men. They were the individuals the organization hired when they wanted someone killed and throughout this case, we’re going to show you all of the people that they killed on behalf of this organization.”
The defense told the jury to intentionally listen to each witness.
“No guns, no fingerprints, no DNA, no forensics, no surveillance, no evidence of money exchanged. You’re not going to see any of that. You won’t have one eyewitness come in who’s going to say, ‘I saw the shooting.'”
“When assessing the reliability and credibility, please keep in mind when the witness first came forward with the statements that they made, did they come forward when the crime was committed or did they come forward six months later, a year later, two years later?”
Along with four counts of aggravated murder, Michael Austin is also charged with attempted murder. The trial is expected to go into next week.
A third co-defendant in the murders, Dewaylyn Colvin, is set for trial in August.