York City homicide: One accused killer testifies against 2nd
Two men accused of fatally shooting Luis "Pily" Inoa on a York City street in April faced each other in court last week — one on the witness stand, the other at the defense table.
The testimony of Chayanne "Shorty" Ramirez was enough to convince presiding District Judge Ronald Haskell II to rule enough evidence exists for Brandon "Sticky" DeJesus to stand trial in York County Court for Inoa's fatal shooting.
But after the Friday, Oct. 12, hearing, defense attorney Korey Leslie — who represents DeJesus — said he believes Ramirez unknowingly testified to killing his friend.
Inoa, 27, of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, was shot twice, York City Police have said — once in the shoulder and one fatal wound to the torso.
The shooting happened about 12:15 a.m. April 15 near the corner of South Duke and South streets.
Testimony from the first part of DeJesus' preliminary hearing, held Sept. 7, as well as Ramirez's own testimony last week, indicates DeJesus fired a shotgun at Inoa and that Ramirez fired a 9 mm handgun at DeJesus.
Sept. 7 testimony revealed Inoa suffered a shoulder wound from a shotgun and that his fatal torso wound came from a bullet, according to Leslie.
York City Detective Andy Baez testified Sept. 7 that the round taken from Inoa's torso was consistent with shell casings found behind a knee-high wall where Ramirez had been standing, Leslie said.
'Unwitting' confession? Ramirez testified Friday that he hid behind that wall and eventually fired his handgun from there.
"Chayanne Ramirez unwittingly confessed to killing his friend," Leslie told The York Dispatch, adding that the preliminary-hearing testimony of Ramirez and others helps his client.
"Even if we believe what those few witnesses have said so far, Mr. DeJesus is either innocent or he has a self-defense claim," Leslie said. "It is a very defensible case."
He was referring to testimony from Ramirez that Inoa had a gun on him at the scene and was "hyped up" and breathing heavily just minutes before gunfire erupted.
"What was he all 'hyped up' about?" Leslie asked.
Both DeJesus, 28, of Smyser Street, and Ramirez, 28, of South Queen Street, are charged with homicide in Inoa's death and remain in York County Prison without bail.
'He was my friend': Ramirez testified he knew Inoa for about seven years, and that they went to school together.
"He was my friend," he said.
According to Ramirez, Inoa called him and asked to meet up on South Duke Street.
Ramirez testified Inoa was putting himself into other people's issues, and that he repeatedly warned his friend "not to get involved."
That's when a fight broke out in the street between DeJesus' sister and the mother of his child, according to Ramirez.
He said Inoa showed him a gun, then walked to the corner and stood near the church, adding he didn't know why his friend did that.
'It was intense': Ramirez testified he hid on a porch behind a knee-high wall after hearing Inoa yell, "Get the f— off of me," followed by gunfire.
"It was intense," he testified, adding he heard two different guns being fired. One was a shotgun, he said, and he saw that DeJesus was carrying a shotgun at the scene.
"I seen Luis hit the ground and I started firing ... at one of the individuals who went running down Duke (Street)," Ramirez said. "Then I started firing at Brandon."
As DeJesus fled the scene in a vehicle, "I fired at the car," Ramirez testified.
Asked by Leslie whether he is expecting consideration on his own charges for his testimony against DeJesus, Ramirez said he is not.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.