A jury will soon have to decide whether 24-year-old Shamar McCowin shot and killed a homeless man in York City, or whether they believe McCowin's contention that his co-defendant pulled the trigger out of desperation.

The jury heard opening arguments in McCowin's trial Monday, when attorneys presented two distinct scenarios for the Nov. 6, 2012, homicide of 46-year-old Edward Leon Green.

Police said McCowin and co-defendent 20-year-old Malcolm Mansour Bull were walking near the 400 block of West Princess Street around 1 a.m., looking for someone to rob, when they spotted Green sleeping in his car.

According to the prosecution, it was McCowin who opened the front passenger door and started shooting at Green, who took off running and yelling for help.

Green died of multiple gunshot wounds, while the two men took off in his Toyota Camry and later torched it, according to police.

But defense attorney Marc Semke told the mostly-female jury that it was Bull who actually did the killing; the attorney said the story of Green's death started 13 hours before the carjacking, after Bull had shot another man in broad daylight and was panicking.

Bull is also accused and facing trial in the attempted homicide of York City man Ronald Rhoades around noon on Nov. 5, hours before Green's death. Bull didn't realize Rhoades had survived the shooting, and he was desperate to steal a car and get out of town, the attorney told the jury.


The gun used to kill Green was the same gun used to shoot Rhoades, Sempke said, and the only evidence against McCowin "comes from the mouth of this desperate man (Bull)."

Both men face the same charges: second-degree murder, robbery, and tampering with evidence for setting the car on fire.

McCowin's trial continues Tuesday, while Bull is awaiting trial.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.