The manslaughter trial of a former McKinley High School football star opened Wednesday morning.
Prosecutors say Gerime Bradley attacked John Howard on March 23, 2014. Howard was rushed to the hospital and died a few days later.
Bradley’s attorney, Myles Breiner, claims Bradley and his two friends felt threatened by Howard and feared he may have had a weapon.
“Mr. Howard engaged in the wreckless conduct. He put himself in this situation. He’s on the street stopping cars, provoking fights, scaring his neighbors,” Breiner said. “That scared the daylights out of all three of them, and when he got that close to Gerime, he’s doing it, Gerime’s first reaction wasn’t to throw a punch, just kick him to get away.”
Deputy prosecutor Scott Bell said Howard spoke with Bradley and his friends while they were in their car but had no physical contact and, according to witness accounts, the teens then got out and approached Howard, who had his arms at his side.
“The evidence will show that without any provocation on Mr. Howard’s part, the defendant turned and with a roundhouse kick, struck Mr. Howard square in the sternum, sending him back. Mr. Howard fell backwards and made no attempt to brace his fall, striking his head against the street,” he said. “The evidence will show in this case that if a young man had simply driven away, this entire matter could have been avoided.”
The trial is expected to wrap up by Friday and Bradley is expected to testify in his own defense.