Jurors hear cell phone and Facebook evidence in triple murder trial of Taquashon Ray and Shainquon Sharpe
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Prosecutors on Tuesday showed jurors in the trial of two men charged with a triple murder in November 2018 Facebook posts and phone calls that they say prove the two suspects committed the crimes.
Two of the messages, from co-defendant Taquashon Ray, 25, came minutes after the November 7, 2018 shooting deaths of Edward Morris, 21, Valarcia Blair, 19, and their 3-month-old son Tariq Morris. said prosecutors: and only contained the words “check” and “mate.”
Ray, along with 25-year-old Shainquon Sharpe, are on trial before Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. They each face multiple counts, including four counts of aggravated murder. The extra tally is because one of the victims was under 13.
The three were shot in a car at the corner of Pasadena Avenue and Gibson Street. Edward Morris was dead when the police arrived. Blair was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Health Center, where she died along with Tariq, who was taken to hospital by police who believed they could not wait for an ambulance to arrive due to the severity of his injuries.
City Police Detective Sgt. Michael Lambert, who specializes in analyzing cell phone evidence for the department, testified about the messages, calls and locations of phones found by police.
Sharpe and Ray sent hundreds of messages through the Facebook Messenger app and also made phone calls to several people.
Ray also sent a message saying “Job done,” Lambert testified.
In earlier testimony, the lead investigator on the case, Detective Sgt. Ron Barber said his investigation showed someone wanted revenge on Edward Morris over a previous shooting he was involved in.
Lambert testified that Ray texted someone three days before the murders, asking “Do you still want Ed [Morris]or not?”
There were also messages from Sharpe about buying guns, Lambert said.
Sharpe’s DNA was found on a casing at the crime scene while Ray admitted to police that he was there. In his previous testimony, Barber said he received several tips that the two should be looked into. It took him nearly a year until the day of the murders to get an indictment.
Testimony in the case began on January 26, but the case was delayed due to weather and other issues. It is expected to end with closing arguments this week.