Prosecution rests in trial of York City man accused of killing bystander
In two separate recordings, Christopher Lee Schwenk Jr. denied his alleged involvement in the 2013 shooting death of an innocent bystander but then told the mother of his child the bullet that killed Monique Nixon wasn't meant for her.
The recordings — one of which was a video of Schwenk's interview with police and the other an audio recording of a phone call he made to the mother of his child from prison — were played Wednesday, the third day of his trial.
Schwenk, 26, of York City, is standing trial in the York County Court of Common Pleas on charges of first- and third-degree murder in the death of Nixon.
She was about a half-block away from where Schwenk and another man, Eddie Gallon III, were arguing at the intersection of South Queen Street and East Hope Avenue after a confrontation between Ashley Rodriguez and Gallon about 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2013, city police allege.
Gallon and Rodriguez had been involved in a six-year on-again, off-again abusive relationship, but Rodriguez and Schwenk were also casual sex partners.
Police say Schwenk not only pulled out the gun and fired it, but he also attempted to pick up shell casings before running from the scene. Police found a sleeping Schwenk in Rodriguez's apartment in the 200 block of South Queen Street shortly after the shooting. The 9mm handgun used in the killing was found hidden nearby.
The prosecution rested in its case Wednesday.
Recording: Schwenk told police during an interview, a video recording of which was played for the jury, that he didn't fire the gun, nor does he know who did.
"I didn't do nothing wrong," he told investigators, though he admitted evidence looks bad for him. "I didn't fire no pistol."
He continually told city police detectives that he was asleep in Rodriguez's bed and never heard the shots fired.
Schwenk also told police that Rodriguez had a run-in with Gallon just before the shooting. After the confrontation, Schwenk and Rodriguez went into her apartment, but they heard the window of her bedroom break from the outside and went out to investigate.
Seeing nothing, they went back inside, had sex and he went to sleep, he told police.
"I don't know what happened when I'm asleep," Schwenk said in the recording. "If I did something, I'll own up to it point blank."
However, in an audio recording of a jailhouse phone call Schwenk made to the mother of his child, he said Nixon was accidentally hit by a stray bullet.
"I didn't shoot at her maliciously," he said, adding the bullet wasn't meant for Nixon.
Gunshot residue: Defense attorney Sandra Thompson continued to raise questions about gunshot residue tests performed during the police investigation.
Under cross examination, police Detective First Class Jeff Spence confirmed a gunshot residue test wasn't performed on Rodriguez and he doesn't recall asking her if she fired the gun.
In separate testimony, police Detective Travis Sowers, the lead investigator in the case, said tests weren't performed on Rodriguez because witnesses didn't see her firing a gun and because police didn't believe she was the shooter.
Expert: An expert previously testified that gunshot residue was found on Schwenk's hands, but another expert testified his DNA wasn't found on the gun.
However, Rodriguez's DNA was found on the gun.
During the first day of the trial, First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Russell asked Rodriguez intimate details of the sexual encounter she had with Schwenk the day of the shooting.
DNA expert Jillian Fesolovich testified that it's possible for DNA to be transferred from one person, for example Rodriguez, to another person, for example Schwenk, to an object, such as the gun.
Fesolovich also said it's possible that Rodriguez's DNA masked Schwenk's DNA on the gun.
However, Rodriguez previously testified she had sex with Schwenk after the shooting happened.
Thompson's defense is that Rodriguez fired the gun, not Schwenk.
The trial resumes Thursday.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.