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Jury trial opens for Hempstead man charged in fatal shooting ambush

Jamik Cannon leaves Nassau County police headquarters in

Jamik Cannon leaves Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola on Dec. 12, 2018. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Jamik Cannon "showed no mercy" when at point-blank range he fatally shot a 30-year-old in Hempstead who tried to run for his life, a prosecutor alleged Monday in the first Nassau County murder trial to involve a jury since the pandemic began.

Cannon and his accomplice fired 15 gunshots in all, with one projectile wounding a witness who was "crouched in terror" during the 2018 shooting ambush in front of a Wellesley Street home, Michelle Lewisohn told jurors.

"The evidence in this case is simply overwhelming," she added in her opening statement at Cannon's trial on murder, attempted murder and weapon charges.

But a lawyer for Cannon, 28, of Hempstead, countered in his opening statement in Nassau County Court that the defendant "vehemently denies" the allegations against him.

Mineola attorney Dennis Lemke also reminded jurors who were seated in a socially-distanced format that Lewisohn's opening statement wasn't evidence. The burden to prove Cannon's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt rested with the prosecution, said Lemke, who asked jurors to keep an open mind during witness testimony.

The shooting shortly before 11 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2018, ended the life of Demetrius Winfield three days after prosecutors have alleged that Cannon and Winfield got into a dispute at a gas station.

Lewisohn said Monday that Cannon and his accomplice, Brian Marshall-Gibson, found Winfield at a deli on the day of the shooting before hiding behind a Hempstead house and pouncing on Winfield and his friend after the victims parked across the street.

"The shots began to fly," the prosecutor said Monday, while describing the ambush. " … They were armed, ready and they intended to kill."

The bullet that killed Winfield hit him in the face before exiting through his neck, according to Lewisohn, who said the victim also was shot in his chest and groin. A bullet grazed the hip of Winfield's friend — a 33-year-old cabdriver who was on a break — and it traveled through his groin and one of his legs, the prosecutor said.

The cabbie survived, and Winfield, a Hempstead resident, died a short time later at a hospital.

In August, acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Schwartz sentenced Marshall-Gibson, then age 25, to 20 years to life in prison during a virtual court proceeding. The sentencing followed the South Floral Park man’s plea in April 2020 to murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Jurors in Cannon’s case don’t know about Marshall-Gibson’s guilty plea or sentence.

But Lewisohn told them she would use evidence that included surveillance video and DNA to prove that the two men acted together and had the same intent. Police later recovered one of the guns used in the shooting in a Hempstead sewer, before authorities found Marshall-Gibson's fingerprint on a bullet in it and matched a casing from the weapon to casings at the shooting scene, she said.

The prosecutor also said video would show that Cannon and Marshall-Gibson went shopping for new clothes after the shooting, and burned the clothes they wore during the deadly assault — remnants of which she said police also found.

The trial before Schwartz, which court officials are livestreaming to provide access to the public during the pandemic, is scheduled to continue Tuesday.

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