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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:02 pm

Murder trial in July slaying starts

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

A man charged with murder in a July shooting death on Fort Wayne’s southeast side also threatened to kill a witness in the case, a deputy prosecutor told a jury Tuesday.

The trial of Christopher L. Figgs, accused of shooting Edword Kiel to death as he sat in a car on McKinnie Avenue on July 6, started Tuesday in Allen Superior Court.

Figgs was 28 when he was charged in August with murder, carrying a handgun without a license and use of a firearm in commission of a crime.

In opening statements, Deputy Prosecutor Rick Trevino said jurors will hear from investigators who arrived at the scene that day and found what was an apparent car wreck. They found Kiel, 28, slumped over in his car with no pulse and a lot of blood.

Trevino said jurors will hear that the woman in the car with Kiel didn’t initially tell police who had shot Kiel, but she was traumatized because the car’s driver had just been shot and the car crashed into a tree. Trevino also said the woman was scared because in days leading up to the incident Figgs had threatened to kill her.

Defense attorney John Bohdan said that in the end, many questions will remain unresolved. He said only one person is accusing Figgs of shooting Kiel and only one person claims he was the shooter. He said the witness gave varying accounts of her relationship with the people involved and even gave a wrong last name at one point. He said that only hours later did the witness go to the police – with a relative – and claim Figgs was the shooter.

"Listen to the evidence," Bohdan told the jury, "not what you’ve seen in the paper or what someone tells you on the street."

The trial is expected to conclude Thursday.

fgray@jg.net