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Jury begins deliberations in murder trial

Published September 02. 2011 05:01PM

A jury began deliberating late this morning to reach a verdict in the murder trial of Julius C. Enoe, 33, Reading, after Judge Jacqueline Russell instructed the jury on the law pertaining to the charges filed against the defendant.

Testimony in the four day trial held in the Schuylkill County Court ended Thursday afternoon with Enoe taking the stand and testifying that he did not fatally shoot Bruce L. Forker, 24, at his fiance's home in Shenandoah in March 2010. "I did not shoot him, I was not in Shenandoah that morning and I did not know him," Enoe told the jury.

The only testimony presented naming Enoe as the shooter was by Danon L. Ennett, Freeland, who said he was the get-away-driver and that Enoe and his nephew, Jahmal Olliverre, 20, Reading, entered the home and when they came out Enoe told him he shot Forker and to drive away." Ennett had pleaded guilty to lessor charges for his part in the incident after getting a plea agreement to a lessor sentence and became a witness for the Commonwealth.

In the closing arguments to the jury, Robert J. Kirwan, II, a member of the public defender's office of Berks County, who represented Enoe, summoned up to the jury his version of the testimony. "There was not one piece of evidence to establsih Enoe was the shooter. He did not drive up to Shenandoah with his nephew that morning because he was home in Reading at the time."

Enoe had testified, although he knew Ennett for many years and had met him in a barbershop in Reading a day before the shooting, that they never discussed robbery but that Ennis did talk to his nephew. Enoe tetified late in the evening leading to the shooting the next morning that his nephew borrowed his car and he got a ride home for a bar and was home sleeping on the couch when his nephew returned around 5 a.,m.

Testimony was the shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. that morning. Ennett gave a different version of the meeting claiming they planned the robbery and there was not to be any shooting only getting money from Forker. Testimony was about $4,000 to $5,000 was taken from a box in the bedroom on the second floor where Forker was shot. He suffered one bullet wound to the head fired at close range.

Kirwain claimed the Commonwealth charged the wrong man with the murder that that the nephew and Ennett were the ones who entered the home because Ennett was involved in selling drugs to Forker and was owed money. Kirwain told the jury Ennett and Forker had been involved in dealings in illegal drugs since Forker was 15 years old. Kirwain also claimed it was Enoe's nephew who pulled the trigger and that Ennett pinned the crime on his friend Enoe in order to escape a long jail sentence.

District Attorney James P. Goodman told the jury the evidence was clear that Enoe was at the scene. It was Enoe who drove his car because he knew where Shenandoah was as he was in the town previously with Ennett. He said his nephew was from New York and came to live with Enoe only a few months before the commission of the crime.

Goodman told the jury although the Commonwealth could not prove who shot Forker the evidence as to who fired the gun could be ascertained from Ennett's testimony and all the jury had to do to find Enoe guilty could be based on the evidence that he was at the scene.

The Commonweath is seeking a conviction of murder in the first or second degree which carries a life sentence without parole. This was the second trial because in the first trial a jury could not agree on a verdict.

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