UPDATE | Opening statements underway in 2017 fatal shooting case


YOUNGSTOWN — Prosecutors said today in opening statements in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that Dashonti Baker killed Rae'venna Faircloth-Thomas June 23, 2017 because of a property dispute.

Baker, 26, is charged with aggravated murder for the death of Faircloth-Thomas, 24, who was found shot six times inside an SUV on Oneta Street.

Jury selection began Monday before Judge Anthony Donifrio.

Assistant Prosecutor Michael Yacovone said that police found a distinctive car driven by Baker and his former co-defendant that witnesses said was involved in the shooting.

Inside the car was a deed from the victim transfering a piece of property to Baker. Yacovone said the transfer did not go well.

"It was not a smooth transaction," Yacovone said.

The murder weapon was found in a plastic bag in Mill Creek Park, Yacovone said. Cell phone data also links Baker to the crime, Yacovone said.

Defense attorney Walter Madison gave a very brief opening statement, telling jurors to concentrate on what the state is not telling them.

Virginia Faircloth, the mother of the victim, was the first witness. She said Faircloth-Thomas and Baker had grown up together and were very close.

"They called each other brother and sister," she said.

Faircloth said the home her daughter transferred to Baker was the home of Faircloth-Thomas' grandmother, which she came to own because Faircloth-Thomas took care of her grandmother.

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