Testimony continues in second day of trial of final suspect in Rowan Sweeney murder
Jurors gathered in Judge Anthony D'Apolito's Courtroom for another day to hear more testimonies in the trial of the final suspect in the murder of a four-year-old Struthers boy.
Day two of testimony in the trial of 21-year-old Brandon Crump who is accused of being the triggerman in a deadly home invasion that claimed the life of four-year-old Rowan Sweeney.
The first witness called to the stand was a doctor at Saint Elizabeth Hospital. This doctor treated the adults who were in the home at the time of the murder including Yarnell Green.
The doctor testified that Green arrived around 2:20 a.m. the morning of the crime via ambulance in critical condition with gunshot wounds to his abdomen and upper back. He was still conscious at the time.
This doctor also treated Andre McCoy, who was a victim, as well as a co-defendant in this case. He testified that McCoy came in around the same time as Green via ambulance as well. He was also in critical condition and was "surprisingly" conscious.
The doctor then testified that he treated Rowan's mother Alexis Schneider, who arrived at the same time via ambulance in stable condition. She was shot in both arms and was found to have a fractured bone in one of those arms.
The doctor further testified that Schneider had a fragment of a bullet near her heart.
The doctor also treated Cassandra Marsicola, who was a friend of Schneider's and McCoy's girlfriend at the time of the crime. She had multiple gunshot wounds including on in her right thigh.
According to his testimony, Marsicola arrived at the same time as the other three victims and was in stable condition.
During a cross-examination from the defense, the doctor testified that he had no idea how long the patients stayed in the hospital. He testified that there was a police presence there on the first night, but did not know which agency.
The next testimony came from Dan Boerner, who is a special agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). Boerner was called to the scene of the crime the morning it occurred.
Boerner testified that he arrived to the scene around 5:00 a.m. and Rowan's body was still in the home, but the other four victims were in the hospital by the time he arrived.
Photos of the crime scene were presented to the court including photos of the exterior of the home and interior shots of various rooms inside the home including one with a white sheet with Rowan's body underneath it.
One photograph was not shown to the court, but was explained to be taken in order to examine the condition of Rowan's body.
More photographs were shown in the evidence gathering stage of the investigation including 45 caliber cartridge cases, bullets, blood on the couch and multiple cell phones with one of them having a broken screen and another having a flower case.
Additional pieces of evidence were found including more bullets and cartridge cases, a water bottle found outside the house, a cigarette butt in the driveway an empty Gatorade bottle, a sling sack, a black handgun box with a box of ammunition and a magazine inside, multiple victims' wallets with one having around $665 in cash and a plastic baggie with "veggie material" inside.
The "veggie material" is suspected to be marijuana according to Boerner's testimony. Boerner testified about 12 cartridge casings were recovered at the scene.
More photographs were shown of ballistic impacts, as well as suspected "biological material" on the floors and walls.
After a brief 10-minute break, the jury reconvened and Boerner's testimony resumed. Boerner testified that three days after the murder, he was called back to Struthers for a search warrant related to the case at a home on Poland Avenue.
The Poland Avenue residence was said to be the residence of another defendant in this case, Kimonie Bryant according to Borner's testimony.
Another investigation at a home on the 600 Block of Cassius Avenue in Youngstown was also mentioned in Boerner's testimony. This was the home of some of Bryant's family members.
According to Boerner's testimony, BCI was also called in reference to a vehicle used by the suspects during the murder. Boerner testified the vehicle was seized from a car rental location on Market Street in Boardman and transported to the Struthers Police Department.
A gas bill addressed to the Cassius Avenue home with members of Bryant's family's names on it was found in the glove box according to Boerner's testimony.
Boerner also testified regarding evidence from Rowan's autopsy including bloody clothing.
Following a lunch break that lasted a little over an hour, Boerner's testimony continued providing further insight to the search warrant at the Poland Avenue address.
Multiple red jackets were found at this address along with ammunition, a light for a gun and gold Nike tennis shoes. Witnesses also testified about the light on the gun.
During Thursday's testimony, multiple witnesses had testified that the gunman was wearing a red jacket. Witnesses also testified about the light on the gun.
The next testimony came from Danielle Reed, a senior DNA analyst at Bode Technology, which is a forensic DNA analysis company. She conducted DNA analysis in this case.
A report dated November 18, 2022 reveals that Bode received DNA fragments from multiple people linked with the case including Schneider, Green, Marsicola McCoy, Bryant and Crump.
Reed testified that she had received swabs of DNA from multiple pieces of evidence from the scene.
DNA testing on shoes revealed inconclusive results aside from the fact that it was the DNA of a male, but a partial profile of three individuals was found on the cartridge casings.
These profiles were linked to Green, Sweeney and Crump. However, she was unable to conclude where that DNA came from (blood, spit, touching, etc.).
During a cross-examination, the defense talked about the difference between primary transfer and secondary transfer and mentioned that with secondary transfer, DNA can be passed from one person to another person by touching, meaning one person's DNA could transfer to an object after mixing with another person's DNA.
Reed also reiterated that it's impossible to tell when or how Crump's DNA got on the casings, but she did say there was strong support for the exclusion of Bryant's DNA on the casings and limited support for exclusion of McCoy's.
The next testimony came from witness, victim and co-defendant Andre McCoy, who had previously pled guilty to charges related to this case. Testimony from Thursday revealed that McCoy was the ex-boyfriend of Marsicola and the one who planned the robbery.
During his testimony, McCoy testified that he knew Bryant for about eight years and that the two grew up together and that he had met Crump "a few years back" and has since seen him "every so often."
McCoy testified that earlier in the day before the murder, he was smoking marijuana at the house of a person known as "Ant" before going to Schneider's home with Marsicola.
Text messages shown to the court reveal this was going on around the 8:00 p.m. hour.
From there, McCoy admitted to texting Marsicola once Green pulled out money, which had previously been revealed to by between $4 to $5,000 in pandemic unemployment funds.
McCoy testified he didn't know the exact amount but if he were to guess, it would be "a couple thousand [dollars]" and admitted to texting Marsicola "I want to take his s**t," to which Marsicola responded asking him what he meant, with McCoy responding back stating he wanted to take Green's money.
From there, McCoy testified that he later texted Marsicola that he didn't plan on taking the money anymore, but did not let anyone else know.
Call logs were then shown to the court showing a few calls between McCoy and Bryant during the 1:00 a.m. hour. McCoy testified that he told Bryant to come through the front door, show his gun and take the money.
McCoy also testified regarding texts between him and Bryant about how Green did not have a gun because somebody stole it.
McCoy testified that he thought everything would go smooth because he did not text Bryant about shooting anybody. McCoy testified that when the robbery began, Crump was the one who entered the house first.
McCoy testified that he was shot a total of six times and that the person who came in the door was the person that shot him and that nobody else was at the door at the time.
During a cross-examination, McCoy was questioned about his testimony that he changed his mind, but just didn't tell Bryant. The defense pointed out that rather than call off the robbery, he instead told Bryant Green didn't have a gun and that Marsicola's car was parked outside the house.
McCoy testified that he couldn't get a good look at the gunman's outfit, but he did have his hood up. McCoy testified that he could not tell whether or not the gunman was wearing gloves.
McCoy further testified that there are some things he doesn't remember from the night of the crime due to being shot in the face.
Once asked again by the prosecution who shot him in the face, he once again identified Crump even after being asked if he would protect Bryant if he was to shoot him in the face.
The defense fired back that McCoy knew Bryant was coming with a gun because he was the one who was planning the robbery with him and had never given any previous statements identifying Crump as the gunman.
Following McCoy's testimony, testimonies wrapped up for the week with the trial set to resume on Monday.
Thursday's trial saw testimonies from Schneider, Marsicola and two Struthers police officers who responded to the scene.
A full recap of these testimonies can be found in our related coverage below.