Rochester/Brighton, N.Y. -- The trial is still in the early stages but testimony is already raising questions about who was present for this fatal shooting and who left of arrived at the crime scene before police showed up.
Additionally, a development late Wednesday included a possible problem with the jury. More on that below.
Max Wyant, 24, is accused of 2nd Degree Murder in the shooting death of his former roomate Christopher "C.J." Schoen. It happened on February 8, 2012 at the home they both used to live at, 37 Hartfeld Drive in Brighton.
Wyant's lawyer concedes that his client fired the fatal shot but asked the jury to consider the circumstances surrounding that shot. The prosecution states that the victim was shot in the back and that this was an act of intentional murder.
The first witness to the stand was a Matthew Mitchell who described himself as being the victim's best friend. He told the court that he and Schoen went to a smoke shop in Irondequoit earlier that day and purchased bath salts. He said they then drove to the Hartfeld Drive home and that Schoen went inside. Mitchell said he didn't witness the shooting but found his friend moments after, still bleeding and sliding down the wall just inside the front door.
Mitchell told the court that he tried to carry his friend outside, stopped, removed the bath salts from Schoen's pocket as well as his cell phone, then fled the area. Mitchell said he went home where he was later located by police and that he never called 911.
When pressed as to why Mitchell testified, "I had no idea, my mind was in freak-out mode."
"My mind was all messed up," he also said.
Court documents also suggest that a teenage girl was in the home at the time of the shooting but that police only learned that a day later after Wyant called her from a holding cell following his arrest. The follow-up investigation showed that her father dropped her off at the Hartfeld Drive home around 3 p.m. that afternoon. She may be called as a witness as soon as Friday.
Brighton Police Officer Renee Stickles was also on the witness stand Wednesday and Thursday. Officer Stickles was the first emergency responder on scene and said the first person she encountered was Wyant's father.
Schoen was located by Officer Stickles laying just outside the front door of the Hartfeld Drive home and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A source close to the Schoen family said that for months the family has been dealing with the painful questions that come with such revelations.
Testimony is expected to resume on Friday after the judge and lawyers on both sides resolve an apparent problem with one or more jurors. Late Wednesday the judge cleared the courtroom for about 90 minutes while lawyers worked with him and the jury to resolve one or more issues. The jurors could be seen being talked to individually and at times as a whole group. The lawyers also discussed matters with the judge outside of the presence of the jury.
There is no word on what the issue was, but in delaying a decision of a request from 13WHAM News for copies of crime scene photos admitted into evidence, Judge Randall and both lawyers acknowledged that media reports including those photos in reports may further complicate the issue before it can be resolved.