Trejuan Johnson at home in Canton
CANTON – Trejuan Johnson shot dead a house in Canton last year because he was upset about stolen money and marijuana.
This is the report of two former prison inmates who testified in the Stark County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday during Johnson’s trial.
Johnson is charged with killing 19-month-old Ace Lucas and injuring Ace’s twin ArCel in July 2020 while the couple slept on the couch in their Clarendon Avenue SW home.
More:Trejuan Johnson trial begins with opening statements, first witnesses
On the second day of Johnson’s trial on murder and other charges, prosecutors called Johnson’s former cellmates Richard Bennett and Lamar Mitchell to the stand.
Trejuan Johnson’s cellmates are giving their versions in court
Bennett and Mitchell, who were Johnson’s cellmates at different times, both testified that Johnson said he shot a house for stolen money and marijuana.
According to 59-year-old Bennett of Akron, Johnson was upset about the $ 11,000 and pound of marijuana robbery.
Bennett said Johnson told him while incarcerated at the Lorain County Correctional Institute that he was being investigated for murder.
According to Bennett, Johnson told him he had two family members from the Chicago area come to Canton and that they parked a car near the target’s house, walked over and fired shots into the house. Bennett said he did not know the name of the person Johnson allegedly stole.
Bennett testified that Johnson told him he was wearing a black hoodie and a COVID mask. Johnson, he said, repeatedly put a towel on his head and a mask over his face and asked the cellmate if he believed he was being identified.
According to Bennett’s testimony, Johnson said the Chicago men were members of the Black Disciple gang and “they were some bad guys.”
Bennett thought Johnson might be kidding and had his wife set up a conference call with the police to see if Johnson was telling the truth. The murder investigation was confirmed by the canton police, Bennett spoke to investigators.
Bennett insisted he not seek reward money, although he was aware of it after speaking to Johnson with his mother.
According to Mitchell, Johnson told him that his brother was allegedly robbed of money and weed and that he and four others, including two from Chicago, took a rental car and Johnson’s Dodge Charger to the Lucases’ house, circled the house, and then parked on a side street.
Mitchell testified that after the shooting, Johnson said he changed the rims of his tires from black to chrome. Mitchell said Johnson identified several other men who participated in the shooting and gave their names in court.
Mitchell later spoke to investigators who met with a member of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.
Barr asked Mitchell about the Code of the Street. Mitchell testified that members “don’t whistle – but when it comes to a child, everything is out of the window,” the former cellmate told the court.
In return for his testimony, Mitchell said he was promised an early release until Thanksgiving.
Other witnesses in the Trejuan Johnson trial
Joy Hastings, formerly of Canton, testified that she flew from Florida to Cleveland the weekend of the shooting to see a man connected to Johnson.
The couple drank brandy and smoked weed all day, the woman testified, and later she went home and showered and changed before meeting friends in a bar. Hastings then received a message from the man to meet her at an apartment that belonged to one of Johnson’s relatives, Hastings testified.
According to Hastings, she saw Johnson there on July 21, 2020 along with several other people with whom she called back in court by name.
Some of the men Hastings identified in the apartment that night were also named as others involved in the shooting by Johnson’s cellmate Mitchell.
Defense attorney Aaron Kovalichik interrogated Hastings and questioned her memory of who she had seen that night drinking and smoking weed all day. “I drink and smoke every day,” Hastings told the court.
Hastings said she left the apartment around 2 a.m. and went home.
FBI Special Agent Jacob Kunkle took a position on cell phone recordings, particularly the locations of phones when the communications were sent and received.
Kunkle testified that on July 21, 2020 through July 21, two cell phones linked to the investigation were analyzed as they moved from west to east and ended up at the Bexley Townhome Apartments around 3:03 a.m.
Kunkle said he was unable to use either of the two phones near 1645 Clarendon Ave. SW, the location of the shooting, as there was no communication on both phones at the time.
23 shots from three pistols
Larry Mackey, an investigator with the Stark County Crime Laboratory, testified that three guns were used to fire 23 shots into the house.
Mackey testified that he analyzed 23 spent cartridges and found 10 fired from a .45 automatic and 13 from a 9mm firearm.
Two 9mm bullets were removed from Ace Lucas’ body, one in the right thigh and the second in the lower abdomen, Mackey said in court.
It could not be determined whether the two bullets were fired from the same gun, Mackey testified.
The three firearms used in the shooting were not found, he said.
The final witness on the second day of the trial was Canton Police Sgt. Mike Talkington, who testified about the two vehicles used in the shootings, a silver vehicle and a Dodge Charger. The vehicles were located and confiscated.
Talkington said the vehicles were seen by surveillance cameras around the city and in residential areas in the victims’ neighborhood at the time of the shooting.
Talkington said the rims on Johnson’s tires were black when they were seen on street camera footage on July 17, 2020, but were chrome-plated when the vehicle was confiscated after the shooting.
During Talkingtons testimony, the jury was shown a video of the shooting with audio and a video of the alleged vehicles in the neighborhood.
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