Betrayal” Led to Jamal Wilson’s Death, Prosecutors Allege

After three days of motions hearings and jury selection the first-degree murder trial of Kwan Kearney and Jeremy Risper got underway Thursday morning,

Prosecutor David Sayboldt told jurors in opening statements that Kearney, Risper, and the victim, Jamal Wilson, were all friends, but that arguments about testifying in a trial had broken their group up.

The group split, Saybolt said, after Risper and Kearney’s brother Eric testified against another friend, Levon Williams.

Wilson was killed in a shooting in November 2010.

Years of friendship were forgotten in a moment when Kwan Kearney shot the gun and put a bullet through his friend’s heart,” Saybolt said.

He said Kearney felt betrayed by Wilson.

The disagreement led to several exchanges of gunfire: Kearney shot at Wilson and two of Wilson’s friends, then Wilson later shot at Kearney, Sayboldt said. Eventually, Sayboldt said, Kearney and Risper armed themselves and “ran [Wilson] down.” Saybolt said Kearney fired the fatal shot but that Risper was just as guilty since he also armed himself and chased Wilson.

Risper’s defense attorney, Dana Page, argued that the prosecution’s witnesses were untrustworthy and disputed Saybolt’s claim that Risper “aided and abetted.”

Jeremy Risper did not shoot Jamal Wilson,” she said.

The trial will resume at 1 p.m.¬†tomorrow with Judge Thomas Motley.

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