Trial continues for 3 people charged in 2022 New Kensington homicide

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The trial for three people charged in connection to a July 2022 homicide in New Kensington continued Wednesday in Westmoreland County. One of the other four people involved in that incident took the stand to testify against them.

Raquan Carpenter testified he was inside the Valley Royal Court apartments with Elijah Gary, one of the men now charged in Jason Raiford’s death, before Raiford showed up to the apartments.

He said Raiford owed Gary money, and Gary was angry.

There was a gun inside the apartment that was not loaded, and Carpenter said Gary asked Carpenter to hand it to him.

When Raiford arrived, Carpenter said someone mentioned “Slim’s here...” and the energy changed. He said Raiford was aggressive and demanding drugs.

That led to an argument that was caught on camera. Prosecutors say it was an attempt to rob Raiford of the money he owed Gary.

Carpenter said he walked outside and heard someone ask Raiford if he had money, then he heard the unloaded gun he’d handed Gary fall to the ground.

He said Raiford picked it up and pointed it at all of the people inside the building. He said Raiford then went outside.

That’s when prosecutors say Amir Kennedy, who was 14 at the time, shot Raiford at least 11 times with a semiautomatic rifle.

Carpenter said he started panicking and ran to a cousin’s house, and was later charged in the case with six others.

Prosecutors say Elijah Gary and the others planned to wait for Raiford to arrive and rob him.

Defense attorneys for Gary, Kennedy, and Da’Montae Brooks said prosecutors can’t prove there was a conspiracy to rob Raiford and said Kennedy shot Raiford because he felt he was in danger.

Homicide charges are still pending for Carpenter and three other teenagers involved, but they are cooperating with the district attorney’s office.

The trial will continue Thursday at 9 a.m.

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