YOUNGSTOWN Witness to shooting tells court how it happened
The woman said she didn't know her boyfriend was keeping a gun in the house.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Shawndea Bell shuddered, then put her head down when she saw the gun that was used to kill her former boyfriend.
And when she heard tape recordings of her frantic calls to 911 after the shooting, she buried her face in her hands and broke down in sobs.
Bell was on the witness stand Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where Shawn Greene is on trial for the April 25, 1999, murder of Daniel Wilkerson, who was known as "Pap."
Bell said she and Wilkerson had a long romantic relationship and six children together. They had broken up, though, and she was living with Greene at the time of the shooting.
Bell said she was getting dressed in the bedroom of her Ravenwood Avenue home on the city's South Side when Wilkerson walked into the house, unexpected and unwelcome.
Greene, who was sitting at the kitchen table eating stew, immediately got up from the table and walked into the bedroom, where he got a .22-caliber handgun from under the mattress of the bed.
Bell said she didn't know Greene was keeping a gun in the house. She seemed shaken when assistant prosecutor Kelly Johns handed her the gun and asked her to identify it.
There had been bad blood between the two men because Wilkerson did not like the fact that Bell was living with Greene, defense attorney James Gentile said in his opening statements. He said Wilkerson had threatened Greene, which is why Greene bought the gun.
What happened next
Bell said Greene took the gun into the kitchen, where Wilkerson was standing. The two men exchanged words, during which Wilkerson essentially dared Greene to shoot him, Bell said.
When Greene did not pull the trigger, Wilkerson taunted him and started to leave the house. Bell said that's when Greene, who had been shielding the gun behind the refrigerator, aimed it at Wilkerson and fired, shooting him in the abdomen.
Four of the six children were home at the time, including one who was standing next to Wilkerson when the gun was fired, Bell said.
"He shot an unarmed man in front of his children," Johns told the 10 female and two male jurors during her opening statement.
Gentile and defense attorney Ronald Yarwood have said the shooting was in self-defense, though Bell said Wilkerson never made a move toward Greene during the altercation.
Wilkerson's mother, Dorothy Wilkerson, said her son turned 24 the day he was killed.