Deshawn Dowdell, 23, of Mansfield, listens to opening statements Thursday morning in Richland County Common Pleas Court. Dowdell is accused in the 2018 shooting death of Terrence Harris, 19.

MANSFIELD -- The defense team for Deshawn Dowdell, on trial for the murder of Terrence Travon Harris, asked the jury Thursday morning to pay close attention to physical evidence.

Angelo Lonardo, the lead attorney for Dowdell, 23, asked the all-white jury not to abandon logic and reality during opening statements in Richland County Common Pleas Court.


Defense attorney Angelo Lonardo of Cleveland speaks about the gunshot's upward trajectory and lack of physical evidence in his opening statement Thursday morning.

"We spent a day (Tuesday) trying to select you all that had the right stuff to weigh evidence," the Cleveland attorney said to the jury. "To consider evidence and see that there is no real evidence connecting my client with this crime."

Lonardo said he hoped the jury would realize there was no DNA evidence or fingerprints on the bullets. He mentioned the bullet was shot an upward angle, which he said, made little sense in a drive-by shooting.

"You'll have no DNA connecting my client to this -- no fingerprints," he said. "What you're going to have is the word of people that are in trouble and are looking to get out of trouble. People who were in jail and want to get out of jail," the defense attorney said.

Richland County First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodie Schumacher called to the emotional side of the jury, as well as witnesses who put the defendant at the scene of the murder.


Richland County First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodie Schumacher speaks to the jury during her opening statement Thursday morning.

"Back on (April 8), three people are going to tell you about a chance encounter that day," she said referring to Harris, 19, Dowdell and an unidentified witness.

"The evidence is going to show that in the early afternoon, these three had seen each other in the south end of town. There was a second encounter at Fourth Street and Buckeye (Avenue). Finally, there's the fateful encounter in the evening at a stop light," Schumacher said.

A witness, Schumacher said, recognized Dowdell's stature and posture as he drove through the stop light. They made eye contact as the defendant passed by. 

The prosecutor said the defendant then made a U-turn.

"POW, POW, POW, POW, POW!" Schumacher said, slamming her hand on the bar between her and the jury to emphasize each gun shot. "Five shots. One pierces the Jeep and hits Terrance right in the back. It kills him."

Dowdell was arrested by Mansfield police on Sept. 12, 2018, after he fell through the ceiling of his 383 Wood St. apartment when authorities arrived with the warrant.

During a search of the apartment, detectives seized approximately one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of suspected heroin/fentanyl, two handguns, $3,386 in U.S. currency, and other drug paraphernalia.

Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.

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