YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Jurors Friday heard DNA evidence in the trial of two men accused of November 2018 triple murder on the South Side.
A DNA analyst from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation testified about DNA evidence found on shell casings collected from the Nov. 7, 2018, crime scene where Edward Morris, 21; Valarcia Blair, 19; and their 3-month-old son, Tariq Morris, died.
The three were killed just after 7 p.m. Nov. 7, 2018, in a car at the corner of Gibson Street and Pasadena Avenues.
Taquashon Ray and Shainquon Sharpe, both 25, are on trial for their deaths. They each face four counts of aggravated murder as well as additional charges. The extra count of aggravated murder is because one of the victims was under 13 years old.
The trial began Wednesday before Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court after a jury was selected Tuesday.
At the crime scene, police collected 19 casings from an AK-47-type semiautomatic rifle and eight casings from a 9mm handgun. Inside the car, police collected from a .45-caliber handgun that was found on the body of Edward Morris. He fired at least two shots before he was killed.
Andrew Sawin, the analyst, testified that Sharpe’s DNA was found on the 9mm casings and the DNA of Edward Morris was found on the .45-caliber casings. The analyst said he could not match anyone’s DNA to the casings from the rifle because there were too many partial profiles on the casing.
Sawin said it is usually difficult to get DNA from shell casings because they are not handled very often and there is not much opportunity to transfer their DNA to a bullet.
There is also a theory in the forensic science field that gunshot residue that comes when a bullet is fired could also wipe out any traces of DNA.
Jurors are expected to view autopsy photos this afternoon. Testimony is expected to resume Monday.