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Jury resumes deliberations in murder trial

Published May 02. 2011 05:00PM

A jury in the murder trial of Julius C. Enoe, 32, of Reading, resumed deliberation this morning in the Schuylkill County courthouse to seek a verdict after failing to reach one Friday after more than nine hours of deliberation. It was past midnight Saturday morning when Judge Jacqueline Russell decided to allow the jury to go home for the weekend and return Monday morning at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Enoe is charged with shooting to death Bruce L. Forker at his home in Shenandoah on March 16, 2010, following a botched burglary and robbery. Enoe took the witness stand in his own defense and testified he did not shoot Forker and was not in Shenandoah at the time of the robbery.

It is a difficult case for the jury to reach a verdict because District Attorney James P. Goodman is seeking a conviction of murder in the first degree and is asking the death penalty. Enoe's attorney, Public Defender Robert J. Kirwan II, of Reading, asked for acquittal calling the case hinges on testimony of two "liars."

The commonwealth's two key witnesses who placed the blame for the shooting on Enoe were both involved in commission of the burglary. Jahmal Oliverre, 20, of Reading, a nephew of Enoe's who has a criminal record as a juvenile, testified he drove up to Shenandoah with his uncle and they met Damon Ennett, a co-conspirator.

Oliverre's testimony was he was living with his uncle and the day before the burglary his uncle and Ennett met at a barbershop in Reading and later that evening his uncle told them "we got a jook to do," which is a slang for robbery.

He testified that they drove to Shenandoah in the early morning hours the next day, met Ennett in Shenandoah and that he and his uncle entered the Forker home their faces covered with masks and bandanas and wore hats with brims down to their eyebrows. Oliverre testified his uncle had the gun.

When a female opened the door they forced their way in. Oliverre said he grabbed the female and his uncle ran into the kitchen and he heard him say, "where's the money." He also testified that his uncle came out of the kitchen with Forker and they went upstairs. He again heard his uncle demanding money and then heard a "pop, pop". When he looked into the upstairs room he saw Forker lying on the floor bleeding. He said his uncle almost fell down the steps fleeing the home.

Oliverre said he picked up the money lying on the floor and when he returned to the car they drove back to Reading where his uncle took the clothing both were wearing for disposal and cleaned the car. They later went to New York.

Testimony by Dr. Richard Bindie, pathologist at Schuylkill Medical Center, was that Forker was shot in the head with a 45 caliber gun and the cause of death. He also testified it was a contact wound, meaning the gun was up against the victim's head when he was shot. The gun was never found which made it difficult to match the empty shell found in the home with the gun firing the shot.

Ennet also testified he met Enoe in the barbershop the day before and made arrangements to obtain masks and and gloves at a Walmart store. He said Enoes had the gun and saw him running out of the home and Enoe told him he shot Forker and to drive away. When he asked Enoe why he shot Forker his answer was he didn't mean it.

Under cross examination both men admitted they made deals with the Commonwealth to obtain a lesser sentence for their testimony, Oliverre, 15 to 30 years, and Ennett, 13 1/2 to 27 years in a state prison.

Enoe had an entirely different story of events that transpired on the fatal morning. He said his nephew early the previious evening asked for a loan of the car which he granted thinking he wanted to cruise around Reading area and that he didn't return with the car until 4:30 a.m. the next day. The burglary occurred around 2:30 a. m. He stuck to his story he was not with the other two in Shenandoah.

Kirwan painted both men as "liars" who had everything to gain by placing the blame on Enoe. Kirwan said the nephew had only lived with his uncle about six weeks after getting out of juvenile detention in New York and had no loyalty and Ennett was a successful drug dealer who owns two homes and high price cars.

The Commonwealth through Assistant District Attorney A. J. Serina tried to convince the jiury to believe their testimony. He agreed they were not model citizens but told the jury the Commonwealth could not select their witnesses and had to deal at times with "scum" but claimed the evidence showed Enoe was the shooter.

In questioning Enoe, Goodman brought out that Enoe had visited Shenandoah on a number of occasions with Ennett who dealt in selling drugs to Forker who re-sold the drugs to people in Schuylkill County. Enoe claimed he did not know Forker or where he lived.

The jury was having a difficult time to decide whom to believe. Friday evening the voices of jurors could be heard when they increased in volume almost to a shout as they debated. The jury was in a room which adjoins the courtroom.

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