The murder trial against Julius Catlett Jr., the man who is alleged to have shot and killed Shaun Smith, began Monday in Christian Circuit Court.
In the trial that’s set to last a week, a jury of 13 citizens was seated in the morning and then opening statements began that afternoon. Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor told the jurors that they were going to hear a lot of evidence, speculation and from several witnesses before the trial ended.
She says on the night of the murder, September 4 2016, Shaun Smith and another man at a block party on Younglove Street, got into a verbal disagreement. Pryor says the argument never became physical, but it was at that time she alleges that Catlett stepped forward and shot Smith in the back five times.
Jared Smith, one of the attorneys representing Catlett, encouraged the jury to remain objective and hold the Commonwealth to their job of providing enough proof that Catlett was the shooter. He says what happened was a tragedy, but it would also be a tragedy to convict an innocent man.
Both parties detailed some of the events of the night in question and some of what happened after, including Catlett being located 10 days later in Evansville, Indiana. A couple of witnesses were called Monday afternoon, including Hopkinsville Police Department officers, who described the party that was happening that night and hearing gunshots.
Trial will continue Tuesday morning. Catlett is charged with both murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.