Prosecutors told a Duval County jury on Thursday that Benjamin Washington shot and killed someone at a party last May over racial comments, but the defendant's attorney said there's no physical evidence and everyone who witnessed the shooting was intoxicated.
Washington, 24, is accused of murder in the death of 19-year-old Chad Henderson during a party at a Mayport Road condominium.
In its opening statement, prosecutors said an argument that began over Henderson's swastika tattoo led to the shooting.
Attorneys presented photos from inside of the home, where police said Washington killed Henderson.
"There are witnesses who will tell you he used the "N" word; there are witnesses who will tell you he made derogatory about white women dating black men, and his girlfriend was white," assistant state attorney John Guy said. "When he had had enough, he stood up and put an end to the conversation with one bullet."
Washington's defense attorney told jurors there is no DNA evidence, and since everyone at the party was intoxicated, they cannot positively identify the killer or say exactly what happened.
She pushed witnesses to tell the jury exactly what Henderson said the night of his death.
"What he actually said was that he supported the Nazis' idea of a supreme race, correct? And that the other races should be weeded out, correct?" the defense asked a witness, who answered yes to both questions.
The defense also argued that there were two other black men in the apartment at the time of the fatal shooting, neither of which any of the witnesses said they remembered seeing.
"You will not see or hear any physical evidence that supports the state's theory of the case," said Washington's defense attorney. "You will see a shell casing that does not in any way prove that Mr. Washington did or did not do this."
Henderson's family members told Channel 4 the timing of the trial is making things even more difficult for them.
"He'd just turned 19. He would have been 20 Apr. 20. That's been hard on us too, having the trial come right after his birthday," said the victim's grandmother, Jensinn Henderson.
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