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New York man found guilty of murder in 2006 Washington Gardens shooting

May 15, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A New York man was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 2006 shooting death of 22-year-old Jackson Agustin Rodriguez.

Olusegun Hakeem Ogundipe, 28, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for his role in the death of Rodriguez, who was dead when police arrived at a Washington Gardens apartment for a report of shots fired the night of July 23, 2006.

The jury seated for the two-day trial deliberated for about two hours before reaching its verdict.

Ogundipe also was convicted of attempted first-degree murder for his role in an attack on Tony Perry, 22, of East Burn Avenue in the Bronx, N.Y.

Perry was shot in the head and has lost an eye and part of his memory as a result of his injuries, according to a stipulation agreed to by prosecutors and assistant public defenders Loren Villa and Jerry Joyce.

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Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. ordered a pre-sentence investigation prepared, which will include information about Ogundipe, including his criminal record.

Prosecutors and the public defenders representing him agree that Ogundipe did not fire the fatal shot. But Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said during her opening statement Tuesday morning that Ogundipe was involved in the shooting.

Cirincion said another man, Joshua Edwards, aka "Blue Eyes," was the shooter.

Edwards, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and other crimes, according to court records.

Edwards is in custody in England, and law enforcement has been trying to get him extradited for more than a year, Hagerstown Police Department Lt. Mike King said Tuesday night.

Yadira Rodriguez, 18, Jackson's sister, sat through the entire trial with her mother. She said the hardest part was seeing how her brother was killed.

"He was an amazing person and didn't deserve to be killed like this," she said.

Defense witnesses Wednesday attempted to provide an alibi for Ogundipe, but Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael, during his closing argument, called the alibis presented "cockamamie."

"The defendant wanted an alibi so bad he got two," Michael told the jury.

Ashley Alexander testified that she was at a friend's house July 23 after 11 p.m., and that Ogundipe also was at the home then. The shooting at Washington Gardens was reported to police at 11:15 p.m.

Two other women testified that Ogundipe had been at a different home around that time.

Cherelle Richardson was not sure when Ogundipe arrived at her home, or when he left, but said he had visited with her for about 15 minutes. Her sister, Shadai Coleman, testified that Ogundipe had arrived at their home between 11 and 11:30 p.m.

During the defense's closing argument, Villa attempted to cast doubt on the state's star witness, Steven Ramel Broadhead.

Broadhead testified Tuesday that Ogundipe had held him at gunpoint while Edwards, who Broadhead referred to as "the killer," shot at his friends.

Broadhead and both shooting victims came from New York to sell drugs in the Hagerstown area, he testified. On the day of the shooting, the men had brought about $10,000 worth of cocaine from New York City to Hagerstown, he testified.

The men stayed with local women when they were in Hagerstown, he said.

The shooting occurred at an apartment rented by Kimberly Duckfield, who lived there with her young son and a roommate.

Broadhead was returning to the apartment with food for his friends when he ran into a group of four to five men, also going to the apartment.

As he entered the apartment with them, Ogundipe pushed him into the kitchen at gunpoint while Edwards shot his friends, Broadhead testified.

Villa reminded the jury that Duckfield did not identify Broadhead, who she knew, as one of the men who entered her apartment with firearms.

Villa also said if Broadhead was on trial for a crime, prosecutors would tell the jury not to believe him. He has been convicted of a con artist crime, and has given false statements to police on multiple occasions, she said.

"He's a liar," she said.

Broadhead probably took the $10,000 worth of drugs, which never were found by police, from the crime scene when he fled, she said.

No physical evidence, including fingerprints and DNA evidence, tied her client to the crime scene, Villa said.

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