MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – The trial for a man accused of shooting and killing two teenagers in a garage got underway Tuesday.
The trial for 65-year-old Victor Santana started in the afternoon after jury selection was held, according to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. The trial is being presided over by Judge Timothy N. O’Connell.
Santana is charged with four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and five counts of felonious assault. In November 2019, Santana pleaded not guilty to all charges against him in court.
In court Tuesday, jurors listened to opening statements from both the prosecution and the defense, the former claiming Santana performed a sneak attack on unarmed teen boys before killing two of them, and the latter claiming Santana was frightened and defending his property.
Santana is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-olds Javier Harrison and Devin Henderson in his garage on Conners Street on August 28, 2019. Prosecutors said the teens believed the garage to be abandoned and a third friend of the teens, Jashin Gibson, made it out alive that night.
During the first day of trial, the defense depicted Santana as a loner who didn’t know any of the boys and used his gun to protect himself and his property. But, prosecutors say Santana targeted the boys in a sneak attack, and that his home’s boarded up windows, no lights, and cars that were covered in dust and animal prints, gave the boys the idea the home was abandoned.
The state also brought in two witnesses to be questioned, Dr. Lee Lehman, chief deputy coroner of Montgomery County, and Jeffrey Scott Downing, a former crime scene investigator and current Dayton Police officer.
During the trial it was also noted that the the three teens weren’t in possession of any weapons at the time of the shooting.
Whitney Crim, assistant prosecutor, said, “Without any sort of alert, any sort of light…the evidence is going to show you that the defendant walked up to that vehicle opened that door and immediately started firing.”
Defense attorney Lucas Wilder said, “You also have to consider the conduct of the victims, and decide whether anything they did caused this man to reasonably believe that anything they did would cause bodily harm to himself.”
The trial will resume Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.