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Witness in New Kensington shooting says she didn't see shots

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, April 27, 2012, 3:57 a.m.

A key prosecution witness in an attempted homicide trial that started Tuesday told a Westmoreland County jury that she didn't see who fired the shots during the afternoon attack in New Kensington in 2008.

The prosecution contends the shooter was Germaine "Legend" Alford when he and three other men cornered Terry "Goddie" Houston of New Kensington in a clothing store on the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue.

Witnesses initially claimed that on June 19, 2008, Houston was forced outside the store at gunpoint. He tried to escape but was thrown to the ground. Houston tried again to run away when a barrage of bullets were fired. One hit Houston.

Alford, 30, of Penn Hills is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and other offenses. He is charged with witness intimidation for allegedly trying to prevent Houston from testifying against him. Alford threatened Houston while both men were in prison earlier this year, police said.

Lori Johnson testified yesterday that Alford was among a group of men who attacked Houston.

Johnson said she was in her car drinking a pint of gin when the shots were fired. She ducked down to avoid being struck by gunfire.

"I saw Legend pull a gun out, but I didn't see him pull no trigger. There were three other dudes," Johnson testified.

Johnson testified more than a year ago at a preliminary hearing that she saw Alford fire his gun.

Assistant District Attorney Larry Koenig, in his opening statement to the jury, said the shooting was over a drug deal.

Defense attorney Brian Aston objected to Koenig's description of Alford as a "street person" and told jurors the prosecution's evidence cannot be believed.

Two other men have pleaded guilty in connection with the shooting.

Darnell Davis, 29, of New Kensington, pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2008, to aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm and trespassing. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 364 days in jail. Davis has since been paroled, but an arrest warrant has been issued for his alleged violation of terms of his release.

On Oct. 21, 2008, Justin Mosley, 22, of Verona pleaded no contest to trespassing. He was sentenced to one year of probation.

A third man, Joshua Simpkins, 22, of Verona was admitted to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time, nonviolent offenders. He was sentenced one year of probation. A trespassing charge against him will be wiped from his record if he completes probation and testifies against Alford, if needed. Entry into the program is not an admission of guilt.

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