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Lemarinel trial heads toward a conclusion

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By Deborah Swearingen

The interaction between Jordan Lemarinel and Samuel Addison Stewart in the moments before Stewart’s death took the front seat on Wednesday, the seventh day of the Lemarinel murder trial.

As the prosecution had an opportunity to cross-examine the defendant, Deputy District Attorney Ashley Augustin stressed the abnormality of the situation: Stewart, who was 26 at the time of his death, visited the South Jeffco home of Kenneth Crise for a pre-arranged drug deal. Although Lemarinel was the one selling the drugs, he did not know Stewart. The meet-up was arranged by Crise. Lemarinel claims he shot Stewart twice in self defense after being stabbed by the victim.

“Out of nowhere, Mr. Stewart, who does not know you, turns around and attacks you with a knife,” Augustin probed, to which Lemarinel agreed.

The defendant, 27, is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased human body, tampering with physical evidence, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and more in connection with the May 1 death of Stewart, a Dakota Ridge High School graduate known by “Addy” or “Addison” to close friends and family.

Crise also is charged in the murder and will be in court for a March 14 jury trial.

During its cross examination, the prosecution also focused on Lemarinel’s decisions in the hours after Stewart’s death. They questioned his decision to move Stewart’s body, as well as his decision to not seek help and his choice to not mention any specifics of what happened when interacting with friends following the incident.

However, on Tuesday, during questions from his public defender Garen Gervey, Lemarinel continued to emphasize that he acted in self defense.

“I never wanted any of this to happen,” he said. “The only thing that I could have done was what I did in my opinion. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I felt like that was my only choice.”

The defense wrapped up its case on Wednesday. The prosecution intended to call several more witnesses, including Lemarinel’s mother. After this, there will be closing statements from both prosecution and defense and deliberation by the 12-member jury. The trial is scheduled to go until March 9.

Chronology

According to courtroom testimony, on the morning of May 1, 2017, Stewart drove his white Ford Explorer to the home of Crise on South Owens Court in South Jeffco. Surveillance video from across the street, which was played in court, showed Stewart pull up to the house and joining Crise, 56, and Lemarinel in the garage.

The video footage showed the garage door closed, and less than hour later, Lemarinel was seen dragging Stewart’s body into the driveway. After struggling to maneuver Stewart into the Explorer, Crise came out to help.

Lemarinel drove away and returned on foot approximately 10 minutes later as Crise was seen washing off his driveway, according to the video.

Hours later, neighbors became suspicious when an unfamiliar vehicle parked in the 11300 block of West Maplewood Drive, less than a mile from Crise’s home, didn’t move for several hours. A neighbor, who last week testified in court, called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office after noticing an apparently unresponsive person inside the vehicle.

Deputies arrived on scene, confirmed the person was dead and later identified him as Stewart.

Days later, Lemarinel was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with Stewart’s death. He had previously been arrested on unrelated drug and illegal weapons possessions charges, and remained in police custody until being arrested on the first-degree murder charge.

At the time of Lemarinel’s arrest, another arrest warrant was issued for Crise. He was apprehended nearly two weeks later by the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force.