YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The cousin of a man who was shot and killed on a North Side street in September said Wednesday in municipal court she saw the man accused of killing him pull the trigger.
Akasha Santana, cousin of Jacob Moore, 21, testified in a preliminary hearing in municipal court that she saw Mekhi Venable, 19, shoot her cousin as Venable was sitting in a car about 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 on New York Avenue.
Santana testified that Moore ran around the car Venable was in and was in front of the car when Venable shot Moore. Moore died later that evening at St. Elizabeth Health Center.
Venable turned himself in to police Oct. 19 after a murder warrant was issued for him the day after Moore’s death. He has been in the Mahoning County jail on $250,000 bond since his arrest.
The case was bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury by Judge Carla Baldwin following a preliminary hearing in which Santana gave almost all of the testimony.
Santana testified that she and Moore, along with two other men and her two children, ages two months and 1, were on New York Avenue after what she described as a “brief encounter” with someone.
Moore and the other two men were out of her car when Venable came over and an argument broke out. At some point, Moore ran around to the front of the car Venable was in when Venable shot Moore, Santana testified.
There was another person in the car with Venable, but Santana testified she does not know the person’s name. Under cross examination from defense attorney John Juhasz, Santana testified that the other man did not fire a gun. She said it was Venable who fired a gun.
Also under cross examination, Santana said Moore and the other two men with her had guns when Venable pulled up, but they discarded their guns before Moore was shot.
Police had said that Moore was shot during a prearranged fight and that he dropped his gun to fight Venable but instead Venable shot him.
When asked what Venable and Moore were arguing about under cross examination, Santana said she could not remember, only that the two “bumped heads.”
She also said under cross examination that she called Venable earlier in the day because “we share a mutual friend and she told me something that upset me.”
Santana said she called Venable to find out why the mutual friend would say something upsetting. When asked if the call was about an allegation of a robbery, Santana answered yes.
Under redirect examination from Assistant City Prosecutor Lucy Baier, Santana repeated her earlier testimony that only Venable fired a weapon and that it was Venable who shot Moore.
Judge Baldwin continued Venable’s bond.