An argument erupted inside Joe’s Bar in Mont Pleasant early Nov. 12, 2011, then rekindled outside, a prosecutor told a jury in Schenectady County Court on Tuesday afternoon.
On either side of the argument were Rashad Robinson, who was not armed, and Rodney Davis, prosecutor Amy Monahan said.
“[Robinson] makes what turns out to be a fatal mistake of mouthing off to this person here,” she told the jury in opening statements.
Davis, Monahan told the jury, the “enforcer” for a group of friends from Brooklyn, is then passed a gun “and he opens fire. It’s as simple as that. It’s as simple as that.”
Davis, 23, of Brooklyn, is accused of killing the 23-year-old Robinson outside Joe’s Bar, 1306 Fifth Ave., shortly after 5 a.m. that morning. Davis is accused of shooting into a crowd, hitting his intended target, Robinson, at close range. Two others, Nick Coons and George Lloyd, were wounded.
Davis faces one count of second-degree murder, three counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault, along with other assault and weapons charges.
Davis’ attorney, Mark Gaylord, gave a brief opening statement, reminding the jury they should keep an open mind. The prosecutor, he said, hasn’t proved her case, “and I would suggest to you that she won’t do that in this case.”
Gaylord did not get into the details of the accusations against his client, suggesting he would do so in his closing argument.
Monahan said the shooting had roots in a minor argument that began inside the bar, but also in a brewing feud between Davis’ group of friends from Brooklyn and Robinson’s group from Schenectady. She also identified Davis as a member of the Bloods street gang.
She went through a list of evidence she said she will present, including witnesses, photos and video. The photos come from a DJ in the bar who happened to be taking pictures that night to earn extra cash. The video came from a surveillance camera across the street, which caught part of the shooting.
The prosecution will also present a witness in the form of a jailhouse informant, to whom Davis allegedly made admissions, and a recorded phone call from Davis in jail where he referenced the video, saying “They don’t got me on nothing.”
Davis, Monahan said, fled the city hours after the shooting. He wasn’t arrested until he was found in Baltimore in the summer of 2012.
The case also has connections to two later shootings. Robinson’s brother is serving prison time for shooting a man he believed was connected to his brother’s killing. Also, Lloyd, who survived the Joe’s Bar shooting, was shot and killed not even a year later outside The Mason’s Club in Schenectady.
In the Joe’s Bar shooting, Monahan said Davis’ intent was clear, shooting Robinson at close range, then continuing to fire at his fleeing friends. He continued to fire after clearing a jam in his gun following the first shot, she said.
“That little moment in time,” Monahan told the jury, “that’s why we’re not here for a triple murder.”
The trial is expected to last about two weeks. Presiding is Judge Richard Giardino.