Man accused in 2014 York City homicide faces trial
An alleged gang gunman accused in the slaying of a Lancaster County man in 2014 now faces trial in York County court.
On Friday, March 15, District Judge Joel Toluba determined there was enough evidence for Kashawn "Alpha" Divine Flowers' homicide charge to proceed to county court.
Flowers, 22, a Southside gang member, is charged in the August 2014 homicide of Hazekiah Walker.
During Flowers' preliminary hearing, Marcos Martinez, who said he used to "run the streets" with Flowers, testified that Flowers admitted to fatally shooting someone on Aug. 18, 2014.
"He said he killed somebody, shot him in his head," Martinez said.
There had been a beef between the Southside gang and the West End gang at the time of the shooting, he testified. It began when Flair Griggs, 16 at the time, shot 17-year-old Southside gang member Joseph "Plaga" Gomez in self-defense outside the McDonald's on South George Street in April 2013.
Griggs was sentenced to three to seven years in prison for illegal firearm possession and reckless endangerment.
Police have said Flowers shot Walker because he thought he was a member of the West End gang. Walker was not.
Walker was living in Columbia, Lancaster County, but had come to the York area two days earlier to visit family, police said at the time.
Martinez: York City Police have said Walker was fatally shot during the early-morning hours of Aug. 18, 2014, in the 300 block of West King Street.
Walker was shot in the back of his head and his lower leg, and there were three .45-caliber casings found near his body, charging documents state. He was found hours after he was shot.
Martinez testified that Dysheem Jones gave a gun to Flowers at a home on Queen Street on Aug. 17. Jones, according to Martinez, was the person they went to for guns.
"I thought he was gonna use it just for protection," Martinez said.
He said when Flowers returned the gun to Jones, he admitted to approaching someone in the street that day and asking what side that person was on.
"I guess he got the answer he was looking for, and (he) shot him," Martinez testified.
Martinez said initially he thought Flowers was lying but realized he wasn't when he heard someone had been killed. It was not uncommon for people to joke about shootings in the gang, he testified.
He said it was never brought up again, and Martinez didn't want to say anything because he didn't want to be seen as a "snitch."
Flowers' attorney, Brian Perry, asked Martinez how he knew Flowers, and he said they used to sell drugs and run guns in York City.
Martinez admitted that authorities started questioning him about some York City homicides a few years ago after he was arrested on a probation violation. He said he was never prosecuted for his actions, and he said he answered questions about the homicides to get out of trouble.
In Pennsylvania, credibility is not an issue for judges to consider at preliminary hearings.
Investigation: Detective Anthony Fetrow, who filed the charges, testified that casings found near Walker's body matched with casings found at shooting incidents on Aug. 15, Aug. 16, and Aug. 17 leading up to the homicide.
The casings matched ones found a block away on Aug. 17, in the area of South Hartley Street and West King Street, according to Fetrow.
Martinez testified that he, Jones, Brandon Samuel and Durrell Cotton were involved in that incident, but Flowers was not. Martinez said they were shooting at people in the street before getting in a high-speed chase with York City Police.
The four fled the vehicle after they crashed in the city, Martinez testified.
Three days after the homicide, police responded to another shooting incident in the 200 block of Grantley Street. A Toyota Corolla crashed into a home, and the two men in the car fled, according to authorities.
Fetrow testified that Flowers' smartphone was found in the car. The phone was pre-paid and was not registered to Flowers, but information, including photos, email and a Facebook account found on the phone, indicated it belonged to him, according to the detective.
Looking at phone records, Fetrow found that the phone pinged in the Dallastown area, where Flowers lived with his mom, shortly before the homicide.
It pinged to cell towers closest to the homicide scene before and after the shooting, Fetrow said.
Fetrow said the people Martinez testified about are serving time in prison.
Flowers remains in York County Prison without bail. He is charged with homicide and prohibited possession of a firearm.
At the time his charges were filed, Flowers was in State Correctional Institution Retreat in LuzerneCounty, serving a 37-month to seven-year sentence for aggravated assault, according to state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sue McNaughton.
Online court records state Flowers pleaded guilty to aggravated assault out of Springettsbury Township.
A message left for Perry seeking comment was not immediately returned.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser