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Tajh Ross Trial: Day One

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It's been almost two years since Latasha Roundtree was shot and killed. Tuesday, the man accused of pulling the trigger on the gun that allegedly killed her went before a judge.

Roundtree was riding in a car heading to a party with friends back on September 22nd 2012, on the 600 block of 16th avenue Southwest.

Thats when police say someone opened fire on the Washington High School basketball star, killing her.
   
The search for who was responsible went on for months. A break in the case came last February when five men - including Tajh Ross - were arrested.

Tuesday, after opening statements from the prosecution, they proceeded to call several witnesses to the stand including Latashas friend Haley McConnell. McConnell was driving Roundtree and another friend to the party. Thats when a bullet went through her passenger window.

Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks: As you heard the gunshot, the glass shatter, Mr. Clark told you to go, what do you recall about Ms. Roundtree?

McConnell: She wasn't saying anything.

It was in those tense moments that the bright future of a 19 year old was extinguished. Prosecutors say Ross is the man who pulled the trigger.

They say Ross and his friends heard that a party on 649 16th avenue SW was going to be quote 'shot up.'

Instead of calling the police or simply leaving, you can hear he and his companions arm themselves and stay put, Maybanks says.

McConnell testified about the moments after the shot was fired.

Maybanks: What happened next?

McConnell: Neal started to scream GO!

Maybanks: What did you do when Mr. Clark started screaming GO?

McConnell: I sped off.

Meanwhile, just next door, witness Kenneth Miller heard what sounded like fireworks outside. His surveillance system is what captured the audio and video recording of the moment. You can see Miller going outside to take a look.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Laurie Craig:  As you looked around did you see anything?

Miller: No, not at first I didn't, but coming in between my garage and my neighbors garage, I turned and noticed a handgun underneath the steps there.

All the while, Latasha's friends race to the hospital, hoping to save her life.

Maybanks: What happened when you ran into the hospital?

McConnell: I was just screaming she was shot in her head then I fell to the floor.

The trial will get underway again Wednesday at 9am. Several more witnesses are expected to be called to the stand we'll be in there as well. Follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/cbs2iowa for updates directly from the courtroom.
 
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