Opening statements begin in second-degree murder trial

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | 12:43 p.m. CDT; updated 2:09 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 19, 2008

Kristopher Prince was firing an assault rifle — not driving the car — when a shot hit and fatally wounded Tedarrian Robinson. That's the case the state will attempt to make in Prince's murder trial, which began Tuesday in Boone County Circuit Court.

Prince, now 19, is charged with second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action in the April 2007 shooting death of Robinson, 17.

The prosecution alleges that Prince fired a semi-automatic assault rifle at a car in which Robinson was a passenger. Prince was allegedly riding in a car driven by his cousin, Lorenzo Ladiner, now 22.

Robinson was struck by a bullet in the back of the head and later died at University Hospital.

But Prince's defense team, led by public defender Michael Byrne, will argue that Ladiner was actually the shooter and Prince was the driver that day. In his opening argument, Byrne said he state will rely heavily  on the testimony of a liar -Ladiner, who has a criminal record.

Ladiner has pleaded guilty to charges related to two incidents in April 2007. He will receive a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony he provides during the trial, attorneys for both sides said.

The trial is expected to last through the end of the week. Check back for updates.



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