A concert for nonviolence marred by fatal shooting

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Inside the Dell Music Center, hip-hop performers sponsored by Power99 FM were urging the thousands in the audience to promote “peace on the streets.”

But in the parking lot in front of the amphitheater above the Schuylkill, the echoes of the concert on the night of Aug. 13, 2014, were interrupted by gunfire that left 20-year-old Alexis Guevara bleeding to death near a friend’s car.

“He just told me he needed to go to a hospital,” Guevara’s friend, Marcell Lawrence told a Philadelphia jury Tuesday. “I said I didn’t know how to get there and he said, ‘Well, just don’t leave me out here.’”

Lawrence then identified William Greene, 24, as the gunman who shot Guevara after he and Guevara confronted Greene and a companion and ordered them to get off the trunk of his Dodge Avenger.

As described by Lawrence, 22, the death of the friend he had known since age 10 was a senseless as the street violence being protested from the Dell stage.

Lawrence said he and Guevara and one other friend he knew only as “Lid” went to the free concert that night but were blocked by security guards because the venue was overcrowded.

Lawrence said they returned to his car and then started talking with some young women in another car. When he turned around, Lawrence testified, he noticed a man sitting on his car’s trunk and ordered him to get off.

The two men began arguing and preparing to fight, Lawrence said, when a man he identified as Greene walked up, pulled out a pistol and held it a foot from his head.

“OK, gold watch, run your pockets,” the gunman ordered, according to Lawrence.

As the gunman’s accomplice moved to riffle his pockets, Lawrence said, Guevara punched Greene and knocked him backward causing the gun to discharge.

Lawrence said Greene recovered and shot twice more as Guevara tried to run.

Lawrence was a reluctant witness. Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Joseph Whitehead, Lawrence acknowledged that he had been jailed the last two weeks for contempt of court for refusing to obey a subpoena to testify.

Defense attorney Gary Silver challenged some inconsistencies in Lawrence’s identifications of the crime scene in police photographs.

Lawrence, however, insisted that Greene was the gunman and he identified a photo of the man he called the “nonshooter” – Greene’s alleged accomplice.

Greene is reportedly also on surveillance video from the Dell. At his preliminary hearing last July, two witnesses identified Greene as the gunman.

One witness is a man who was parked nearby waiting for his daughter to leave the concert. The other was Greene’s alleged accomplice, who was allowed to testify anonymously last year because the threat of retaliation and who has pleaded guilty and promised to cooperate with the prosecution.

Greene, of Strawberry Mansion, is charged with murder, conspiracy, robbery and gun charges in Guevara’s death.

On Monday, Greene rejected a prosecution offer to plead guilty to  third-degree murder for a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison.

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