Prosecution and Defense Presents Opening Statements in Markale Hart Murder Trial
Jury selection wrapped up in the murder trial of Markale Hart, the man accused of shooting and killing Auburn football player Jakell Mitchell.
The prosecution and defense presented their opening statements late Tuesday afternoon and the prosecution called up their first witness.
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Hart’s attorney Jerry Blevins,first, questioned the potential jurors about their loyalty to Auburn and if that will influence their decision.
“As big as football is in Alabama, we are dealing with a case of an Auburn football player. It’s the elephant in the room. Whether you’re an Auburn fan, or work for Auburn University or went to Auburn,
do you have the will and ability to put those things aside and be able to make a decision based on the evidence presented?” said Blevins.
Opening statements started soon after. The prosecution said the five gunshots that killed Mitchell will speak for itself and asked the jury who was trying to kill and who was trying to survive.
“This is not a case about football or the SEC or the other garbage that was said earlier, this is about an 18- year-old kid that got cut down in the parking lot. That’s what this is about,” said Lee County Chief Asst. District Attorney, Jessica Ventiere.
But, the defense brought the jury back to that night.
He said Jakell Mitchell showed up to the party that night under the influence, angry and armed with a stolen gun.
Hart’s defense attorney also said that Mitchell pointed the gun first and shot 11 times before Hart fired that fatal shot in self defense.
The prosecution also called up their first witness.
Auburn police officer Webb Sistrunk who pulled over two women that night.
When he pulled them over, they said they were distraught and said they had Jakell Mitchell in the back seat and he had been shot.
Officer Sistrunk saw four gunshots in his chest and abdomen area.
Wednesday, the prosecution will call more witnesses up to the stand.