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Accused York killer was 'desperate' for cash, prosecutor says

Liz Evans Scolforo
717-505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

Accused killer Jeffrey Allen Reid Jr. and his girlfriend at the time needed cash to get out of town, so they put together a robbery crew and went looking for victims, first assistant district attorney Jennifer Russell told jurors during her opening statement Monday in Reid's murder trial.

Jeffrey A. Reid Jr.

That was night of July 19, 2014, she said, and the crew botched its first two attempts.

"The defendant is angry," Russell said of Reid's demeanor that night after the two failed attempts. "In fact, he's furious. ... He needs that money."

In its third attempt, the crew targeted York City resident Dashaun Davis, 23, who was sitting in his parked car in the 200 block of Union Street, just around the corner from his family's Juniper Street home, York City Police have said.

Davis was shot multiple times as he sat in his car, listening to music, with the driver-side window open, according to Russell. Then, the crew stole his cellphone and took off, she said.

On the lam: Reid and a different woman — Karina DeJesus, according to police — then went on the lam, the prosecutor told jurors.

He cut off his braids, shaved and headed south, according to Russell.

"They made it to Virginia," she said, where they were tracked down. Reid was arrested for homicide; DeJesus was arrested for allegedly helping Reid flee.

Accomplice liability: Russell told jurors it doesn't matter who pulled the trigger, whether it was Reid, then-girlfriend Shonique Smith-Hanna, or brothers Malik "Problem" Williams and Naquan "Squeeze" Coakley.

Each co-conspirator is equally guilty under the legal theory of accomplice liability, she said. All four members of the crew put themselves at the scenes of the homicide and the two attempted robberies, police have said.

Tight trio: Defense attorney Korey Leslie told jurors that Smith-Hanna refers to the brothers, Williams and Coakley, as her own brothers.

That means three members of the crew are exceptionally tight, he said, "and one is not." Leslie was suggesting the trio would be more likely to protect each other than Reid.

Smith-Hanna and Williams both lied to police during initial interviews, according to Leslie, and Coakley initially confessed to being the gunman before recanting.

Two made deals: Smith-Hanna and Williams have struck deals with prosecutors in which their murder charges will be dropped in exchange for their cooperation, Leslie told jurors during his opening statement.

"Someone else committed that murder, and it wasn't Jeffrey Reid," the attorney said.

Prosecutors called seven witnesses to testify Monday, but so far none of the co-defendants.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness said testimony will resume 9 a.m. Tuesday.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.