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Trial witness IDs Knight as killer in S. Side shooting

Lavontae Knight, right, confers with two of his attorneys, Patrick Kiraly, left, and David Betras, during Knight’s aggravated murder trial Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. He is charged in the Dec. 30, 2018, shooting that killed Trevice Harris and injured Quanisha Bosworth...Staff photo / Ed Runyan

YOUNGSTOWN — The surviving victim in the Lavontae Knight aggravated murder case testified Tuesday she had seen her boyfriend, Trevice Harris, 37, talking to Knight, 26, at two funerals in the weeks before she was shot and Harris was killed.

Quanisha Bosworth, 35, saw Knight “clearly,” and also had seen Knight at a barber shop and at a house before the Dec. 30, 2018, South Side shootings, she said.

She identified Knight, who she knew as “Slim,” as the person who shot them — both when she called 911 that night and during her testimony Tuesday, pointing to Knight in the courtroom.

The recording of her 911 call was played for the jury. It was difficult to hear most of what she said because of her emotional state, but when the call taker asked who had shot her and her boyfriend, she said “Slim.”

“As you sit here today, is there any doubt in your mind that it was Slim?” asked Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin.

“No,” Bosworth said.

MANY CHARGES

Testimony began Tuesday in Knight’s trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in the aggravated murder of Harris, attempted murder of Bosworth, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, felonious assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Bosworth said one of the funerals she attended was for Knight’s half brother, Edward Morris, 21, and another was for Valarcia Blair, 19; and her 3-month-old son, Tariq, who were murdered with Morris in a car Nov. 7, 2018, on the South Side. She said Harris knew Morris better than Knight.

Shaiqon Sharpe and his cousin, Taquashon Ray, both 25, were convicted in the triple homicide and were sentenced to life in prison in February.

Bosworth said she heard Harris on the phone with Knight, telling Knight he was going to give him some money for funeral expenses for the three murdered people, Bosworth said.

Harris left that day in one of her two cars, a Jaguar, to meet Knight, she said. She left in her Mercedes to get food at a Burger King. Harris contacted her by phone and asked her on speaker phone, which she thought was unusual, to come to Ferndale Avenue, she said.

She is from out of state and had some trouble finding the home, but a man and woman on the porch flagged her down. Knight was the male, she said. The man and woman went in the house, and she went to the door and was allowed to enter.

HELD WITH GUNS

“We went into the kitchen and were held with guns,” she said of her and Harris. She did not know one of the men and the woman, but she knew Knight, who held a handgun and pointed it at her and Harris, she said. It was dark outside, but lights were on in the house, she said.

The three people took phones and other valuables from her and Harris, she said. They put her and Harris in the Mercedes. Knight was in the back seat with Harris.

She said Knight told her and Harris they would not be harmed. Then he got out of the car at a location on the South Side.

Then, she said, she heard gunshots and saw Knight leaning back toward the car. She thought she had been hit by gunfire but did not know if Harris had been hit. She said she “played dead,” then jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off.

She drove to the Shell gas station on Market Street and called 911. She testified she still has lingering injuries from the two gunshots she received.

She later picked Knight out of a photo lineup as the man who shot her and Harris, she said.

David Betras, one of three attorneys in the courtroom assisting with Knight’s defense, then cross examined Bosworth, trying to get her to reveal the name of the state where she lives and asking how Harris was able to donate money toward funerals if he had no job.

Betras also asked about Knight’s attire that night and how many shots she heard.

The trial resumes today.

erunyan@vindy.com

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