Trial starts for man charged in North Side attempted homicide

February 7, 2019 GMT

The trial of Jesse Bodie, charged with shooting another man at an apartment complex last year during a dispute over remarks Bodie made to the shooting victim’s mother, got underway Tuesday with prosecutors telling a jury that it’s no mystery what happened.

“This is not what the crime dramas would call a whodunit,” said Assistant District Attorney David Hart during the prosecution’s opening statement. “Multiple witnesses will say they saw Bodie shoot Taylor with intent to kill.”

The shooting was also captured on surveillance video, Hart said.

Bodie’s lawyer, John Smerlinski, did not present an opening statement, delaying it until he begins calling witnesses Wednesday.

Bodie, 30, is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for shooting Eldridge L. Taylor, 29, on March 28 in the parking lot of the Ridgecrest Apartments on Northport Drive. On Monday, Bodie pleaded guilty to two accompanying charges, firearms possession by a felon and felony bail jumping.

An 11-year-old boy testified that he was at his grandmother’s apartment when, while looking out a porch window, he saw his uncle, Bodie, shoot another man in the parking lot.

“We seen the whole thing,” the boy said during a video recorded interview played in court, recorded the day after the shooting at the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center. “We’re just little kids and we seen the whole thing.”

Elizabeth Pryor, who was Bodie’s girlfriend and has two children with him, testified that she regards Taylor as a brother because her mother and Taylor’s mother were so close as friends that their families essentially became one.

She testified that after hearing about Bodie’s confrontation with Taylor’s mother, she and Bodie, along with three of her children, came to the apartment complex in her car. She said Taylor stopped his car in front of hers, got out and confronted Bodie.

Pryor testified that Taylor and Bodie argued loudly, then the argument ebbed into a softer, but still tense, dispute. As it began to get loud again, she said, she heard three or four shots and saw Taylor fall. She said she did not see Bodie shoot Taylor, and thought at first that when Taylor fell he was ducking down at the sound of gunfire.

With Bodie back in the car, Pryor said, she drove the service drive connecting Ridgecrest’s parking lots. She saw the gun in Bodie’s possession as she drove. Pryor said she exited onto Northport Drive and dropped Bodie off at the PDQ store a few blocks south, then drove back to Ridgecrest to check on Taylor.

She said that after she heard the shots fired and started driving, Bodie asked her, “Are we OK?” and told her to drive.

The prosecution, led by District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, is expected to finish calling witnesses Wednesday afternoon, when the defense case is expected to begin.