Trial begins for man charged with murder after basketball game

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The trial of an Anchorage man charged with murder after a basketball game began Monday in Anchorage Superior Court.

Jerome Logan, 22, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and assault in the shooting death of Billy Watterson, 21, in July 2000.

Both sides agree the shooting occurred when a fight fueled by alcohol exploded in racial taunts after a pickup basketball game, attorneys said.

In opening statements before Judge Michael Wolverton, assistant district attorney Hollis French told the jury that Logan had opportunities to leave after the fight. Instead, he took a gun from his car and returned, French said.

''Jerome Logan should have walked away. Anger and alcohol clouded his judgment,'' the prosecutor said.

But defense attorney Rex Butler said Logan didn't intend to shoot anyone when he brandished the gun. Logan was angry because of racial taunts directed at him after the basketball game, Butler said. The gun went off during a struggle between Logan and other people, he said.

''I suspect evidence will show that during the course of this fight that the gun ended up discharging at least twice, maybe three times, and unfortunately Billy Watterson is dead,'' Butler said.

The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

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