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Testimony in Blackshell trial reveals possible mass shooting motive

Fri, June 03, 2016 10:58 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

Rochester, N.Y. - For the first time since the mass shooting outside the Boys and Girls Club on August 19, 2015, a possible motive has been revealed.

As testimony continued in the Johnny Blackshell, Jr. trial Friday, a key witness took the stand. Blackshell's former girlfriend Tatiana Starling testified that he confessed to the shooting the same night it happened. Starling said Blackshell had taken her car. She said she tried to call him about eight different times with no answer, and when he finally picked up he told her he was in the middle of something.

Starling told the court she heard about on the shooting on Facebook before she saw Blackshell.

She said she thought it could be him because she knew he had an AK-47. A few weeks earlier, on July 29, 2015, Starling said she, Blackshell and Ramel Robinson went to a home on Lake Avenue. She said she was driving, and stayed in the car as Blackshell and Robinson burglarized the home. "They brought out a long gun safe put it in the backseat," said Starling on the stand. She said Blackshell later showed her the AK-47 that was inside.

Starling testified, following Blackshell's confession, she asked him why. She said he told her it was because some kids in the area had shot up a friend's house.

"You know, it is powerful testimony; we have Ms. Starling to put the 'why' out there. Everybody always wants to know why," said Assistant Monroe County District Attorney Perry Duckles.

The night of the August 19th, Starling said she helped Blackshell get rid of the shell casings, throwing them down a sewer grate on Laser Street in Rochester.

"He had to get rid of the gun," said Starling, who saw it in the trunk.

She said they drove to Clay Avenue, found an abandoned home and parked in the back. Blackshell got out and hid the gun. She testified that when she asked him where it put it, he told her he put it under the porch.

"Her testimony kind of pulls everything together in a lot of different ways," said Duckles.

Less than a week after the shooting, Starling said Blackshell knew he would be arrested. While driving to Eastview Mall with Blackshell and two others, Starling testified that he said, "It's over, it's over, they found the gun."

Later that day, Starling met with investigators.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Joseph Damelio focused on Starling's criminal history. She is still in custody.

They also pointed out more than once that Starling made a deal with the D.A.'s office in exchange for her cooperation.

Testimony continues on Monday, and could wrap up next week.

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