Deliberations are to resume this morning in the murder trial of Emmanuel Martinez, who is accused of gunning down a rival at a backyard party last year.
A Schenectady County Court jury got the case after lunch Monday, following closing arguments.
Prosecutor Peter Willis of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office argued that six witnesses identified Martinez as the shooter and that video evidence from before and after the shooting was consistent with their testimony.
Defense attorney Cheryl Coleman, however, argued that testimony was tainted and unreliable, the police investigation shoddy and there was no hard evidence on who the shooter was.
She also argued that family members of the man killed, Jose “Mickey” Torres, conspired with each other to point the finger at Martinez.
Willis argued that the witnesses are reliable and that they saw Martinez, a man they knew, open fire on Torres and Torres’ brother, Luis Gomez. Gomez was hit in the neck, but survived.
Willis pointed to a shell casing found just outside a chain-link fence separating the home’s driveway from the well-lit backyard.
“That’s how good of a look everyone got at him,” Willis told the jury. “That’s what we know.”
Martinez, of Schenectady, is standing trial on one count each of second-degree murder and attempted murder, as well as other charges. He faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted of both shootings.
He is accused of shooting both Torres and Gomez the evening of Aug. 30, 2013, the Friday night leading into the Labor Day weekend.
Willis alleged that Martinez was embarrassed by Torres earlier that day as Torres punched Martinez repeatedly on the street. Martinez then went home, got his gun and went to Torres’ residence later in the evening and opened fire, Willis said.
A man that Willis contends was Martinez is seen on nearby surveillance cameras approaching the Torres residence on Becker Street. The man then slashes car tires. Minutes later, that same man is seen running away from the Torres residence. Martinez fled to New York City immediately afterward, Willis said.
Willis contends that Martinez slashed the car tires to prevent a pursuit after the shooting.
He pointed to street video of the earlier incident between Martinez and Torres, arguing that Martinez was wearing the same type of clothing.
The clothing was also consistent with what witnesses told police the shooter was wearing.
But Coleman pointed to testimony that suggested other possible suspects. One witness chased a dark car that was observed passing the scene shortly after the shooting. Another reported a man in front of the house.
The jury deliberated much of the afternoon. They asked for part of the surveillance video from near the scene to be shown, as well as evidence photographs. As Willis cycled through the photographs, members of the jury could be seen pointing at specific pictures.
This morning’s session is expected to begin by answering another jury note for testimony to be read back.
The trial has lasted about two weeks.