SUNBURY — Northumberland County President Judge Paige Rosini will decide if a homicide charge against Ajani Munsh-Ousha Uhuru will proceed to trial after the 23-year-old Sunbury man appeared in court Friday afternoon.
Sunbury police accuse Uhuru of entering the Penn Jersey Food Mart on Fourth Street in Sunbury on May 19 and getting into an argument with 30-year-old Kareem Jakes before shooting Jakes and fleeing the store.
Uhuru was led into a Northumberland County Courtroom by several county sheriffs and Sunbury police before he sat with his attorney, Robert Hoffa, of Williamsport.
Jakes’ family members packed one side of the courtroom, while friends and family members of Uhuru’s sat behind him.
Rosini explained to members of the courtroom that the hearing was not a trial and there would be no decisions on guilt or innocence, but that instead it was a hearing to see if Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz had enough evidence to sustain the homicide charge.
Uhuru appeared for a prelininary hearing in July and Sunbury District Judge Mike Toomey bound the charges to county court.
Matulewicz said instead of having everyone testify again Friday, he was submitting the transcripts of the trial and other exhibits for Rosini to review.
During the July proceedings, Sgt. Travis Bremigen took the stand first and played a video that shows Uhuru entering the store and grabbing a drink before Jakes enters the store and the two begin a conversation.
Jakes and Uhuru continue to speak before Jakes throws a punch and Uhuru pulls out a weapon and shoots Jakes.
Uhuru then walks past Jakes, stops, and according to testimony from Jakes’ sister, Charisma Jakes, who testified she was inside the store at the time of the shooting, Uhuru says, “I told you not to play with me.”
The video shows Jakes getting shot and falling to the ground.
County Coroner Jim Kelley testified Jakes was pronounced dead at 4:57 p.m. at the scene.
Bremigen testified he spoke with Uhuru when Uhuru was captured outside of Philadelphia by the U.S. Marshals days after the shooting.
Bremigen said Uhuru allegedly admitted to the shooting.
Hoffa argued at the time there was not enough evidence of first-degree murder and Uhuru should also be allowed to get some sort of bail modification. Hoffa, on Friday, asked Rosini to make a ruling on bail when she renders her decisions.
On Friday, Hoffa asked for a copy of the search warrant that was issued by the U.S. Marshals when they captured Uhuru. Matulewicz said the defense would get a copy.
Matulewicz told Rosini he wanted the right to present witnesses if she decided to rule in favor of Uhuru and not proceed with the homicide charge.
Rosini said she would be reviewing the transcripts and exhibits and would issue rulings as quickly as possible.