ERIE, Pa. — A man charged with the shooting death of 22-year-old Justin Wiley was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday.
Dawuan D. Carson, 29, was found guilty by the jury on all charges for the shooting death of Wiley on July 2, 2015 near West 19th and Chestnut streets.
During the second day of the three day trial, medical examiner Dr. Eric Vey testified that Wiley died from a gunshot wound to the head from a .38 caliber bullet.
The prosecution said two guns were used, but it was that bullet that killed Wiley.
On Wednesday – the first day of testimony – a key witness took the stand who said she saw Carson just 15 minutes before the murder. According to the witness, whose name was asked not to be released, Carson said he had a gun and was going to kill Wiley.
There was a violent history between Carson and Wiley. It was said that Wiley had thrown a bottle at Carson’s car before the murder, causing Carson to get upset.
The witness said Carson told her to stay away from Wiley the night of the murder because he didn’t want her to get shot.
There was also a letter that the prosecution said Carson wrote to a friend while in jail, asking him to find an alibi for him for the night of the murder. There was also recorded calls of Carson asking his brother to hide “Buck Jr.,” referring to the murder weapon.
The defense argued that there were no witnesses that saw Carson shoot Wiley and that the gun the witnesses said to have seen Carson with may not have been the .38 caliber used to kill Wiley because she couldn’t identify the gun.
Carson did not take the stand.
“Everything almost fell into place as a matter of chance,” assistant DA Erin Connelly said. “He had been looking to kill him and here he comes while the defense is there with a car that is no longer working. Every piece just kind of came together and it’s almost like the clues were just left for us along the way.”
However, Carson’s attorney said his defendant could likely appeal Friday’s ruling.
“There’s no question that we are disappointed in the verdict, but we believe in the jury system and the jury spoke, ” attorney Bruce Sandmeyer said.