Wayne Bush’s murder trial begins in shooting death of Trenton rapper
Wayne Bush’s long-awaited murder trial kicked off Wednesday with the prosecution accusing him of being the gunman who shot and killed a local hip-hop artist.
Jafar “Young Farr” Lewis, 26, was having a “nice evening” with his fiancée Twanna Robinson on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, when he was gunned down in the capital city, Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor William Fisher said in his opening statement.
Robinson witnessed the murder with her own eyes from the passenger seat of her car, according to Fisher, who said Robinson could see Bush confronting her fiancé in the middle of the street and pointing at him as if he had a gun, and then she “ducked and panicked” after hearing two shots.
The first shot ripped through Lewis’s skull on Middle Rose Street near Brunswick Avenue in Trenton’s North Ward, “literally blowing Jafar’s brains out,” Fisher said. “Jafar never had a chance.”
Lewis owed Bush money, and that dispute over money motivated Bush to unlawfully obtain a handgun and use it in the ambush-style attack against the victim, Fisher alleged.
Bush, 39, has been held in custody on $1 million bail ever since he surrendered to the authorities on Aug. 30, 2013. He has been charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
The private attorney representing Bush, John Furlong, said his client has been wrongly accused and is presumed innocent.
“I’m not saying Wayne sings in the church choir,” Furlong said, “but he’s not a murderer.”
Furlong in opening statements suggested the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bush is guilty. If the jurors think Bush is guilty simply by listening to Fisher’s opening statement, “You are in violation of your oath,” Furlong said to the 14 jurors.
After opening statements, the prosecution called upon Trenton Police Officer Jadeen Smith to testify under oath Wednesday afternoon. She was the first cop to arrive at the scene on the night Lewis was gunned down. She described the scene as “chaos,” saying multiple people were in the area “screaming” as the victim was lying on the street “bleeding profusely from his head.”
“I tried to stop the blood by applying pressure,” Smith said, adding her efforts were unsuccessful.
Trenton Emergency Medical Service rushed Lewis to Capital Health Regional Medical Center following the 9:20 p.m. shooting. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about three hours later.
Judge Robert Billmeier said Bush’s trial could last up to four weeks and conclude on Thursday, April 13, at the latest.
The jury is expected to be exposed to a plethora of evidence and witness testimony, but the main witness the prosecution intends to call upon is Robinson, 38, who would have married Lewis if he had lived long enough to take their romantic engagement to the next level.
Robinson is believed to be the state’s only eyewitness to the murder, but Furlong is expected to question her reliability and credibility under cross-examination later in the trial.
Robinson has a criminal history over the past two decades on matters mainly involving shoplifting or theft of services. The judge ruled that Furlong is prohibited from mentioning anything in Robinson’s rap sheet except for a credit card fraud case that Robinson pleaded guilty to about 15 years ago, which resulted in her being sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $3,525.50 in restitution.
Among the members of the public who attended Day 1 of Bush’s murder trial was his mother Linda Bush-Daniels.
“He’s in the right state of mind,” the mother told The Trentonian about her son on Wednesday. “He’s faithful and believes, and he’s innocent.”
“God is fighting this battle for us,” the mother added. “I know my son is coming out an innocent man. With God, all things are possible.”
Before the trial began Wednesday, there was a temporary juror crisis stemming from one of the jurors being briefly unable to make it to court in a timely fashion due to her being stuck on her unplowed Hamilton Township street. The juror was able to get someone to drive her to the court by noon.
Day 2 of Bush’s four-week-long murder trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.