Suspect innocent in Raleigh store owner's death, defense says
Posted July 8
Raleigh, N.C. — The defense attorney for a man accused of shooting and killing a man at a north Raleigh tobacco store two years ago told jurors Tuesday that ample evidence in the case will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client is innocent.
Steven Marcel Cooley, 22, is on trial for first-degree murder in the Dec. 2, 2011, death of Majid Mohram, 39, who was shot in the chest during a robbery at M3 Tobacco on Calvary Drive.
Cooley is one of three people charged in the case, but defense attorney Larry Economos said Cooley was in Greenville at the time of the crime and that his co-defendants – Kwamane Monte Everett, 24, and Demario Quentel Williams, 23 – blamed him because he was an outsider to their gang.
Everett and Williams, who are still in jail, have been offered plea deals in exchange for their testimony in the case.
"Mr. Mohram's death a terrible tragedy, but let's not take a terrible tragedy that never should have happened and turn it into a travesty for this young man," Economos said during opening statements.
There was no DNA or fingerprints to connect him to the crime, Economos said, and there was no evidence to connect him to the pistol that killed Morham.
Wake County prosecutor Matt Lively said the state would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cooley fired the single gunshot into Morham's chest.
He lay for an hour "drowning in his own blood."
"He died for a cellphone and a wallet," Lively said. "That's it."