After nearly three days of jury selection, the First Degree Murder trial of 20 year old Jacques Lisbey started late Monday morning with opening arguments from state attorneys, and almost ended with defense attorneys calling for a mistrial before they could offer up their side of the case.
Lisbey is accused of shooting 20 year old Malik Moore to death in early August, 2011, in what authorities say was a dispute over a female acquaintance.
During opening statements, Fairbanks Assistant District Attorney Corrine Vorenkamp told jurors that Moore sustained six gunshot wounds, including three to the chest, from a .44 caliber handgun.
Despite being mortally wounded, Moore was able to call 911, and alert authorities and emergency services personnel to his whereabouts in a wooded area near the Sandvik Apartments off University Avenue.
Moore's mother, Terrinita Smith, wept in the court gallery as Vorenkamp described the final moments of her son's life.
"Malik was able to give a vague identification as to who shot him," said Vorenkamp. "State Troopers kept telling him to "stay with us," but it was obvious his wounds were fatal."
Lisbey, according to Vorenkamp, contacted friends shortly after the shooting, telling them that he "had done something stupid," and that he "had shot Malik."
She says he then asked if he "could turn himself in."
Vorenkamp says one of Lisbey's friends, Lavonnya Hedgepeth, transported him to State Trooper Headquarters on Peger Road.
Vorenkamp says Troopers were "very busy" with the shooting incident, and "had no idea" who they were looking for initially.
"I'm the one you're looking for," Lisbey reportedly told Troopers, who placed him in custody.
It was the end of Vorenkamp's presentation that drew the most controversy, however, and had Lisbey's court appointed Public Defender, Jennifer Hite, calling for a mistrial in the case. The veteran prosecutor is heard telling jurors, "I don't know what the defense will be in this case," among other assertions Hite perceived to be "highly prejudicial" to her client.
After telling jurors to "go home," resume hearing the case Tuesday, and clear the courtroom, Superior Court Judge Robert Downes had his clerk play back a recorded version of what Vorenkamp said.
Downes says he would take calls for a mistrial "under advisement," but says its "highly unlikely" a mistrial will be called in the case.
If convicted of First Degree Murder and Evidence Tampering, Lisbey faces a maximum life prison term, without the possibility of parole.