Domionte Cheatum Murder Trial Underway
COLUMBIA - The murder trial for Domionte Cheatum got underway on Wednesday.
Prosecutors charged Cheatum with second degree murder in connection with a shooting at a laundromat on Conley Road in June 2013.
Attorneys narrowed down the nearly 70 person juror pool to just 14 people by 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Judge Christine Carpenter swore in the nine women and five men selected to serve as the jury during the trial.
Court resumed after the lunch recess at 2:20 p.m. and both Prosecuting and Defense attorneys gave opening statements.
Stephanie Morrell, the Boone County Assistant Prosecutor, prepared the state's case. Her statement claimed Cheatum shot Anthony Unger six times during a drug deal gone wrong.
Public Defender Derek Roe leads Cheatum's attorney team.
The state called its two key witnesses to the stand Wednesday.
Joycelynn Brown, the owner of the car Unger died in, was the first of the state's witnesses.
Brown identified Cheatum as the shooter in the courtroom today, but Roe was quick to point out discrepancies between Brown's multiple statements.
In an early interview with police, Brown was shown a picture of a man named Travis Hayes. She originally identified Hayes as the triggerman but later changed her statement to say Cheatum pulled the trigger.
Roe also questioned the legitamacy of her testimony after she stated she did not personally know Samuel Butler, another man charged in the case, despite phone records indicating the two exchanged calls 17 times in a span from June 12 to June 17, 2013.
Butler took the witness stand after Brown. He faces the same charges as Cheatum.
In addition to second degree murder, Cheatum and Butler are charged with robbery in the first degree and armed criminal activity.
Butler's trial is scheduled to begin on July 2, 2014.
The Cheatum trial is expected to conclude on Thursday, but could stretch into Friday if necessary.
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