BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Investigators found casings from at least two different types of guns after the shooting of two men at a house party on Lavette Avenue in Benton Harbor. The shooting happened March 25, 2018.
Berrien County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Cory Peek testified for the prosecution Friday. Out of 19 pieces of evidence, Peek said investigators found five .45-caliber casings -- one near the front door, one near the front step and three in the front yard.
A Michigan State Police firearms and tool mark examiner said all five casings came from the same gun. Mims admitted to detectives to firing a .45-caliber weapon that night.
Michael Johnson, 29, died near the doorway. His close friend, Cortez Miller, 21, died on the front lawn. Mims admitted to shooting both men, but he alleges Miller fired the first shot.
A lone .25-caliber casing was found on the street, along with what the expert determined were two .25-caliber bullets. The firearms examiner could not determine whether the bullets and casing came from the same weapon.
Party witnesses say neither victim had a gun that night, but the defense claimed Miller could have fired this shot toward the home and said not enough was done to prove or disprove this.
“Rather than guessing, saying Mr. Miller was shooting as he was running or did it come from number one, a gunshot residue test would have at least tell us whether, yes, he had a firearm, or no, he wasn’t firing a firearm," defense attorney Eusebio Solis said.
“There’s a probability," Peek said.
“Objection. He’s already indicated that that’s not, kind of, his expertise and that’s not what he did or does in this case," prosecuting attorney Jeff Taylor said.
An expert witness working for Michigan State Police said the department conducts gunshot residue tests, but the victim's clothing, original firearm and ammunition would need to be present. No weapons were recovered from the crime scene.
Jurors were also shown crime scene pictures from inside and outside the home.
Court reconvenes on Feb. 12.