Dexter Joseph and Marcel Lovejoy were killed five minutes after they arrived at a birthday party.

The gunman, wearing a gray sweatshirt, fired several shots in a unit of the Grandridge Apartments at 10021 Arcadia Plaza on Jan. 3 of last year.

Joseph and Lovejoy, both 26, were killed in the apartment.

“He was supposed to get invited to a party, but he got invited to his death,” said Katherinea Page, Joseph’s sister-in-law, outside the courtroom.

Wednesday morning, Douglas County prosecutor Tressa Alioth called the shootings “senseless violence” as she addressed a jury hearing the case against 18-year-old Charles Trotter. Trotter is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a firearm to commit a felony.

The opening statements by attorneys and testimony by two witness — a police officer and an eyewitness — occurred before the judge excused everyone for a lunch break, during which a brawl erupted outside the courtroom.

During opening statements, Alioth said Trotter was the one in the gray sweatshirt. She said witnesses who were at the party will identify him as the shooter. She called the scene immediately following the shooting “pure panic, pure pandemonium.”

Public defender Tom Riley said another partygoer also had been wearing a gray sweatshirt. Riley tried to discredit witness accounts, saying many had been drinking or smoking marijuana.

He didn’t dispute Alioth’s account leading up to the shooting but called the description “rather incomplete.”

Alioth had said reports will show that five bullets recovered from the scene came from the same gun. Riley told the jury that investigators did not locate a weapon or connect a weapon to Trotter, who was 16 at the time of the shooting.

“The defendant is not responsible for this shooting in any way, shape or form,” Riley said.

After the brawl during the break, Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf ruled that the jury would be sequestered for the remainder of the trial, granting Riley’s motion to do so based on the fight in the courthouse and the Tuesday morning homicide at 16th Street and Victor Avenue that may be linked to the trial. One of the jurors, who is seven months pregnant, will be replaced with an alternate juror.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, alia.conley@owh.com

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