JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than two years after his second-degree murder conviction in the shooting death of a 20-year-old former high school classmate was overturned, Frederick Wade was back in court Tuesday for the beginning of his retrial on the charge.
Wade was originally convicted in April 2012 of shooting Kalil McCoy, whose body was found June 21, 2011, dumped in a field off East 31st Street in Jacksonville.
According to police, Wade and three friends were with McCoy in Wade's SUV after leaving Club Plush when there was an argument because McCoy wanted her window rolled up in the SUV. Wade was accused of pulling out a handgun and pointing it in McCoy's direction. Wade claimed that as he was pulling the gun out, it discharged, hitting McCoy in the head.
Wade was initially charged with manslaughter until the charge was upgraded before his trial to second-degree murder.
The three other suspects -- Kennard Mahone, Jonathan Brooks and Alfred Mears -- all pleaded guilty to being accessories after the fact after they admitted they helped dispose of McCoy's body.
McCoy, Wade, Mahone, Brooks and Mears were classmates at Andrew Jackson High School, from where McCoy had graduated weeks before her death.
Wade was sentenced to life in prison in August 2012 but was resentenced to 25 years to life in October 2013.
In February 2015, the 1st District Court of Appeal threw out his conviction, citing faulty jury instructions, and ordered Wade retried.
Since then, Wade’s lawyers unsuccessfully tried to have his confession thrown out and prosecutors and defense attorneys have tried to work out a plea deal. Wade's attorney wants the charge reduced to manslaughter.
A new judge was assigned to Wade's case in October 2016.
During the first day of the retrial, the other men in the SUV testified that the shooting was an accident and that Wade didn't know the gun was loaded.
The men admitted they ditched the gun and dumped McCoy’s body in the woods, claiming Wade didn’t want to take her to a hospital because he was scared of the police.
But McCoy's twin brother, Adil McCoy, said he's not buying that it was an accident.
Adil McCoy and his mother, Lynnette Roebuck, told News4Jax at the trial on Tuesday that even six years later, it's difficult to cope with Kalil's death, especially now that they're forced to relive it through a second trial.
“I am just very angry, because they are wasting the taxpayers’ money to continue with this. He killed my daughter. It wasn't an accident. He pulled the trigger,” Roebuck said. “I have butterflies in my stomach. Part of me is angry.”
They said Wade murdered Kalil and that they don't believe he is sorry for her death. They said seeing him with a chance to get out of prison or get a reduced sentence is hurtful.
They hope the six jurors hearing the case this time find Wade guilty of second-degree murder again.
“It will not bring my daughter back. It will bring us a little justice and a little peace,” Roebuck said. “Knowing that he will never get out is great with me.”
Wade also had a lot of support in the courtroom Tuesday with family and friends on his side.
The trial is expected to run until Thursday afternoon.