Raekwon Stover saw Medina Knowles as property, a way to make money, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
When the 17-year-old mother stopped making him money, prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham told a Schenectady County Court jury, Stover, 19, killed her.
“Her use to him was ending,” Tremante-Pelham said in opening statements of Stover’s second-degree murder trial.
“He didn’t care about her,” the prosecutor added. “He was angry and he was armed.”
Stover shot her once in the head inside her Schenectady Street bedroom, Tremante-Pelham told the jury. She died at the scene.
The prosecutor also outlined what she argued was the core of Stover and Knowles’ relationship and the focus of Stover’s anger.
Stover, the prosecutor said, was Knowles’ pimp and she had started to back away from that.
Stover is accused of killing Knowles inside the 524 Schenectady St. apartment she shared with her mother and family.
Her mother, young child and other children were also in the apartment. Her mother heard the shot, ran to Knowles’ room and saw Stover there, she told police. He fled as she called 911, Tremante-Pelham said.
Stover is represented by attorney Adam Parisi. Parisi declined to offer his own opening statement Wednesday, leaving Tremante-Pelham as the only attorney to address the jury.
The opening statements went forward despite a last-minute plea offer from prosecutors. Attorneys did not detail the offer Wednesday, but it appeared designed to resolve the case to prevent the prosecutor from having to offer in court the details about Knowles and her connection to Stover.
Stover rejected the offer and Tremante-Pelham indicated that once openings began, the offer would no longer be available.
The prosecutor described Knowles as a Schenectady High School student with an infant son that she had with a boy she met her freshman year.
She then struck up a relationship with Stover, who began to prostitute her, Tremante-Pelham said.
“It wasn’t about romance. It wasn’t even about sex,” Tremante-Pelham told the jury. “It was about the business of sex.”
Stover sent Knowles out to have sexual encounters with other men so he could make money, the prosecutor said. But she started to stop those encounters, canceling them or just not going. One such meeting had been scheduled for that evening, and she didn’t go.
Angered, Stover allegedly showed up at Knowles’ apartment and killed her.
Stover later admitted to an associate that he shot Knowles, but said he was cleaning his gun and it was an accident, the prosecutor said.
Tremante-Pelham said the evidence shows the shooting was no accident. Witnesses heard screams just before the shot went off, she said. Autopsy results also showed the shot could only have been intentional.
“He said he was going to get bullets. He’s angry. There was arguing,” Tremante-Pelham told the jury, “and then he points the gun at her head and he pulls the trigger.”
If convicted on the murder count, Stover would face up to 25 years to life in state prison.
The trial is expected to continue through next week. Judge Louise Sira is presiding.