Homicide victim Anthony Wasilewski
Homicide victim Anthony Wasilewski
Jurors deciding whether a York City teen is guilty of murder for fatally shooting a 19-year-old man during a confrontation more than two years ago don't have to decide whether he pulled the trigger.

In his closing argument Wednesday, Gary Kelley, the defense attorney for Jacquez Davon Brown, didn't contest that fact.

But Kelley tried to convince jurors his client was acting either in self-defense or in what he believed was self-defense while struggling with Anthony Sharkus Wasilewski.

Kelley said Brown was 15 at the time and was "attacked" by a grown man who outweighed him by 50 pounds.

"(Wasilewski) approached him from behind, grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground," then put Brown in a headlock, the attorney said.

Jacquez Brown
Jacquez Brown

"Who was truly the aggressor?" Kelley asked the jury.

But chief deputy prosecutor David Maisch told jurors there is no evidence to back up that theory.

He reminded them eyewitnesses testified the two teens were in a verbal argument, and that both walked toward each other just prior to the physical altercation's starting.

The case: Brown fatally shot Wasilewski in front of the victim's home in the 300 block of East Princess Street about 2:30 p.m. July 20, 2011.

York City Police have said Brown robbed Wasilewski of his cell phone earlier that day, and that Wasilewski confronted the teen when he spotted Brown hanging on a porch with 10 to 15 other youths.

The two argued, then struggled, and Wasilewski put Brown in a headlock, police said.

Brown broke away and shot Wasilewski repeatedly, then fled through a breezeway and ran to the 300 block of East Philadelphia Street, police have said.

There, he took a hostage at gunpoint and forced the young man into a home in the block, police said. The hostage got away unharmed, and officers surrounded the building and captured Brown on the roof, police said.

The victim's phone was found on the roof, hidden under a folding chair. The gun was found in the same building, hidden under a piece of furniture, about two months later, police said.

The jury was not told about the alleged hostage-taking, and Brown was never charged.

Testimony finished: The prosecution rested its case Wednesday afternoon, after which Kelley rested his case without calling any witnesses. Brown did not testify in his own defense.

During his closing argument, Kelley argued even if Brown was mistaken in his belief that his life was in danger, it doesn't amount to murder. That's voluntary manslaughter, he said.

"Things escalated quickly, and the shots were fired in quick succession," he said.

Odds against victim: But Maisch told jurors during his closing argument that Brown, now 17, is guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors could find him guilty of first- or third-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, or they could acquit.

"All the odds were stacked against Tony Wasilewski that day," Maisch said, in part because Brown's buddies were sitting on a nearby porch.

"The defendant had the numbers, and he had a gun," Maisch said.

"Jacquez Brown never called the police. What did he do? He ran. He ran to another house and hid on the roof," Maisch said. "That's called consciousness of guilt, ladies and gentlemen. He's not the victim -- he's a murderer."

Shot in back: Maisch also encouraged them to doubt the defense theory for another reason:

"All the wounds -- except for the hand wound -- were to the back," he said. "That's not self-defense."

The prosecutor said Brown's own actions prove he intended to kill. After shooting Wasilewski the first time, Brown paused before firing four more times, Maisch said.

"He stopped. He thought. He knew what he was doing," then he fired four more times, the prosecutor said. "He shot a man who was laying facedown on the sidewalk."

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn told jurors to return to the Judicial Center at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, at which time he will instruct them on the law.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating about 10 a.m. or so.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.