GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Grand Rapids man “essentially assassinated’’ his girlfriend in front of a city street crew last November before fleeing to Detroit to avoid the consequences, a prosecutor said Tuesday in the murder trial of Jermaine Arnet Cooper.
“His flight, and the stand-off and all those things will show his consciousness of guilt,’’ Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki told jurors during opening statements in Kent County Circuit Court.
The Nov. 6, 2015, murder followed a protracted argument between Cooper and the victim, 31-year-old Melissa Moore.
“There’s an argument going on that’s described by the kids as the worst they’ve ever heard them have,’’ Koncki said.
The fight involved a cellphone, she said. “He’s jealous. He’s saying you’re calling somebody else on this cell phone, you’re blocking me on your cell phone. Don’t you love me anymore? It goes on all night.’’
The fight culminated shortly after 4 a.m. when Moore was shot near Truxton Drive and Knapp Street NE. A city work crew witnessed the shooting, Koncki told jurors.
A black Cadillac belonging to Moore was found near Cooper’s home, she said.
“The only person with her when she is last seen alive in her home is the defendant,’’ Koncki told jurors. “And then we find the black Cadillac with her blood in it by the defendant’s house with the same ammo in it that was fired at the scene.’’
Cooper, 36, was arrested a month after the slaying in Detroit following a long standoff.
Defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen told jurors the prosecution’s case is built on “theory and speculation.’’
“Jermaine did not shoot Melissa,’’ he said in opening statements. “There was an immediate rush to judgment on the government’s part to try to show Jermaine did this.’’
The crime scene was also compromised, he argued.
“Very little was done to protect this crime scene and to find evidence and to test evidence that . . . would have excluded Jermaine,’’ Schildgen said.
The trial before Kent County Circuit Judge George Quist is expected to last all week. If convicted of first-degree murder, Cooper faces mandatory life in prison.
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