No eyewitness testimony puts alleged triggerman James Dennis Abney Jr. at the scene of a Sept. 4 drive-by double shooting on Stevens Avenue that police said turned into a shootout.

But at his preliminary hearing Friday, a judge ruled he'd heard enough evidence for Abney to stand trial on charges including attempted homicide and aggravated assault.

District Judge Richard Martin II noted he was the judge who arraigned Abney on the charges last month, and that Abney made statements at that proceeding putting himself at the scene.

"I know you were there and I know that's where you got shot," Martin told Abney, despite defense attorney George Marros' argument to the contrary.

'Reluctant': Martin also spoke in open court about eyewitness Donald Layton Jr., who on the stand denied

indicating to police he saw Abney fire a gun that night.

The judge said Layton's testimony reminded him of some victims of domestic violence who initially speak with police, but later become reluctant and take the position of "Gee, I can't remember a thing."

Friday's hearing was in the York County Judicial Center rather than Martin's Roosevelt Avenue office "because of the allegation of some gang activity," the judge said.

York City Detective First Class Jeff Spence confirmed law enforcement had a general concern about possible violence, since it's believed the Stevens Avenue shootout was part of an ongoing feud between the city's Parkway and south-side "crews," or loosely organized neighborhood gangs.


"I don't know when it's going to end," Martin said of the gang violence.

Victims testify: Shooting victims Destine Callistro, 18, and Shaquille Ennis, 17, testified they were hanging out across the street from Callistro's Stevens Avenue home when they heard gunshots and were struck.

Callistro was shot in the left arm near the elbow, while Ennis -- her boyfriend -- was shot in the neck, they testified. Neither wound was life-threatening, according to police.

The victims said they didn't see who shot them.

"I didn't see nobody in the car," Ennis said. "I didn't even see a car."

Callistro did confirm her sister and Abney have children together.

'Hostile' witness: Senior deputy prosecutor David Sunday got permission to treat Layton as a hostile witness after Layton's testimony changed from what he'd previously told police.

That included backing away from his earlier statement that he saw a front-seat passenger in the car hold a gun out the window and shoot over the roof of a passing Chrysler 200.

"I could've sworn I seen that, but now I'm not too sure," Layton testified.

He initially confirmed Abney was one of two shooters in a Chrysler driven by Ronald Payton III, according to police.

But at Friday's hearing Layton suggested police put words in his mouth.

Two days before the Stevens Avenue shootout, Layton was one of two men beaten and boot-stomped during a large fight in the parking lot of Five Guys Burgers and Fries along Route 30.

Two shot: Police said that fight also was sparked by the feud between Parkway and south-side. Two people were shot; one was critically injured. Glenniece Banks, 31, was shot in the head and is recovering at York Hospital.

York City Police Chief Wes Kahley has said most witnesses to the Stevens Avenue and Five Guys shootings have not cooperated with detectives trying to solve the crimes.

Abney, 26, of 236 E. Cottage Place, remains in county prison.

Also at Friday's hearing, Martin determined enough evidence exists for Payton, 20, of York City, to stand trial as well.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at