Stokes Guilty in Salisbury Shooting Death - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Stokes Guilty in Salisbury Shooting Death

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Jarrett Stokes. (Photo: Salisbury Police Department) Jarrett Stokes. (Photo: Salisbury Police Department)
Crime scene at America's Best Value Inn.  (Photo: WBOC) Crime scene at America's Best Value Inn. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - It took a Wicomico County Circuit Court jury five hours on Thursday to find 19-year-old Jarrett Stokes guilty of 15 charges, including first-degree-murder.  Stokes fired four shots into a crowd last August outside of a Salisbury hotel with one shot killing a Fruitland teenager.

Police say last August, an under-21 party was being held at the America's Best Value Inn on Route 13 in Salisbury.  According to police, Larry Ennis and Ky'Shir Connally got into an argument with another group of people at the party and the two young men left.  Police say Ennis, Connally, and the driver of the car they were in, went and picked up Jarrett Stokes.  The four drove back to the hotel and parked in an adjacent parking lot.

On Thursday, Stokes was found guilty of firing four shots from the front passenger seat of the car into a crowd gathered outside the hotel.  One of those shots hit and killed 17-year-old Rakim Russell.  

The prosecution's star witness in this case was the driver of the car who testified to having picked up Stokes, seeing a gun in his lap, and watching him fire the shots into the crowd.  However, for the past three days, the defense has argued the exact opposite.  Stokes' attorney was adamant that his client never got into the car that night and never fired a gun into the crowd.  Stokes' attorney also argued there was no physical evidence that placed Stokes in the car, only testimony from one biased witness.  

But the jury sided with the prosecution and found Stokes guilty of 15 different charges, including both first- and second-degree murder.  Prosecutors called this case a tragedy for both sides.  One young man lost his life and now another will spend his behind bars.

"We don't need this heartache.  We don't need this pain," said Wicomico County State's Attorney Matt Maciarello.  "It's a tremendous use of state resources, including the police department.  We just don't need this in our community ever again.  So we're hoping this story tonight sparks conversation around the dinner table in Wicomico County as to how to solve your problems peaceably instead of this."

The driver of the car has already pleaded guilty to his three charges, which include conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Ennis was tried last month and was found guilty of 14 charges, including first-degree murder. Connally's trial is expected to begin next week in Wicomico County.

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