Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 26, 2014

Victim IDs shooter


Niagara Gazette — "Who?" she asked again.

"Cordarise Houston," Petty said. "Cord Houston."

In his opening statement to jurors, defense attorney Angelo Musitano insisted his client did not pull the trigger in the shooting.

"We say Mr. Houston is not guilty. We say Ms. Hoffmann cannot prove the case against him," Musitano said. "We believe Mr. Petty is going to come into this courtroom and not point out that man (Houston)."

It's not clear whether the victim will testify during the trial. Petty was paralyzed as a result of the shooting and prosecutors say he no longer remembers anything about the incident.

They also say that won't hurt their case.

"(The fire dispatcher) asked him, 'Who shot you?,'" Hoffman told the jury. "With what he thought was his dying breath, (Petty) said, 'Cordarise Houston. Cord Houston."

The first police officer to reach Petty also testified that he fingered his friend "Cord."

Officer Daniel Haney said that when he entered Petty's home, minutes after his 911 call, he found the victim face down on the floor, with a cell phone near his head.

"I heard someone shouting, 'I'm in here' and I saw (Petty) in the middle of his living room, down on his stomach," Haney said. "He was going in and out of consciousness. He was bleeding."

And that wasn't all that Haney noticed.

"There was a heavy smell of gunpowder in the air," Haney said. "You could actually see it. There was smoke in the air."

With shell casings littering the floor of Petty's living room, Haney said he asked the victim three times who had shot him, where the shooter went and what was he wearing. Haney said he had trouble understanding the first name, but all three times Petty told him the shooter's last name was Houston.

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