Day 2 Of Trial Held For Two Accused In Lexington Marine’s Murder

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 15:01:31-04

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) Dawan Mulazim and Quincinio Canada, the two men accused of shooting and killing Marine Jonathan Price outside of a Lexington bar in June 2014, appeared in court Thursday for the second day of their trial.

The Commonwealth’s fifth witness was Detective Timothy Upchurch. Upchurch investigated a robbery at the Quality Inn. Prosecutors said that the Quality Inn is where three people were robbed and a gun, a Springfield XDS .45, was taken. According to prosecutors, that gun was used to rob and shoot and kill Jonathan Price and injure his wife Megan, who survived the shooting.

On Wednesday in court, three of the Commonwealth’s witnesses were the three robbed at the Quality Inn days before the Prices were shot. One of the three, Shane Hansford, was able to identify Mulazim as the man who robbed him through a photo. The other witness, Jessica Hansford, said the robbers told her to lay face down on the bed. She heard them rummaging through the room and she says she heard one robber say, ‘Come on nephew’. Prosecutors said that Mulazim and Canada are related. They showed the jury text messages where the two call each other "nephew" and "unk".

On Thursday, Detective Timothy Upchurch explained how police made the connection between the robbery and Price’s murder. He said that they knew a Springfield XDS .45 was stolen at the Quality Inn robbery and he had descriptions of the suspects. The shell casing from Price’s murder was sent for analysis and it showed that same type of gun was used to kill the marine. The detective investigating the robbery then realized the descriptions of the suspects matched and they started looking into the defendants. 

Upchurch claimed that he showed the robbery victims a photo lineup, but he did not tell them the defendants were suspected of being involved in Price’s murder. Upchurch said that when he makes a lineup, he includes people with similar characteristics, such as similar hair or facial features. The defense questioned the line-ups that the police made, focusing on Canada’s facial tattoo. Police had photoshopped the face tattoo out for the line-up photo. Detective Upchurch said that this was done because the other five people in the line-up did not have face tattoos, which would have made Canda stand out. He said that that is something they avoid doing because they want to make the victims pick fairly. 

The defense is questioning the investigation, saying that no DNA was found, nothing was swabbed, and they said that they believe the victims of the Quality Inn robbery have inconsistent suspect descriptions. 

Mulazim’s lawyer, Andrea Kendall, told the jury on Wednesday that police arrested Mulazim and Canada because they were under pressure to solve this high-profile case during a summer filled with murders. She says DNA evidence will prove they have the wrong men.

The Commonwealth’s sixth witness was Joe Sisson of the Lexington Police Department. Sisson works in the computer forensics division. Two photos were shown to the court. Sisson claimed that the two photos were taken on a phone he examined.

The court was also shown the text logs in which one person says "unk" and the other says "nephew."

The Commonwealth’s seventh witness was Jonathan Price’s mother,  Debbie Price. 

Debbie talked about her son’s military accomplishments. She read a letter he had sent from boot camp as other family members sitting in the courtroom cried.

Debbie said that Jonathan was her only child. The last thing she heard from Jonathan was "143". She said that was the code he had when he was little to say "I love you". Debbie recalled the night of the shooting, saying that one of Megan’s sisters told her about the mugging and told her that Jonathan and Megan were taken to the hospital. Debbie said she did not know Jonathan was dead when she got to the hospital. 

The defense had no questions for Debbie Price.

The Commonwealth’s next witness was Jonathan’s widow, Megan Price. She said that it was her birthday when she and her husband went to Austin City Saloon. The couple was ready to go home from the bar and was outside when she looked up and saw a man approach her with a gun. She said that she also saw another man. She said both of them had guns. 

"I remember a barrel pointed at Jonathan’s head," said Megan in court. "I heard a gun fire and I fell to the ground."

She said she saw Jonathan lying on the ground. Megan told the court that Jonathan was shot while lying on the ground. Megan said that she tried to get to Jonathan but she couldn’t because she had also been shot. 

Prosecutors played surveillance video from the parking lot where Jonathan and Megan were shot. They also played Megan’s 911 call. The call was made moments after the couple was shot. On the call, she can be heard frantically trying to get Jonathan Price to respond: “I love you, Jonathan. I love you, Jonathan. I love you, Jonathan,” she says on the recording. 

Megan said that the robbers took $60 from her that night. She said that Jonathan didn’t carry cash. Megan was in a wheelchair for seven weeks after she was shot. 

The defense asked Megan about which man she said had shot her and which man she said had shot Jonathan. 

Megan finished testifying in a very emotional day in court. The Price family cried throughout the day. The defense continued to try to poke holes in the investigation that police did. 

The trial will continue Monday at 9 a.m.