State begins presenting their case in P.T. Cole Park murder trial
Dennis Bendy is on trial for murder. (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
Tuesday, prosecutors started making their case against an East Texan accused of killing a young mother. Dennis Bendy is the first of three co-defendants to go to trial for allegedly shooting and killing 20-year-old Briana Young last summer.
Prosecutors say Young and her son were caught in crossfire during a rival gang shootout at Tyler's P.T. Cole Park.
During his opening statement, Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham told the jury Dennis Bendy is being prosecuted under the law of parties.
“We are not going to stand up here and tell you that Dennis Bendy is the shooter whose round killed the victim,” said Bingham.
He says the shot of a co-defendant killed Briana Young, but under that law, a person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another person if he acted with intent to promote or assist in the commission of the offense by soliciting, encouraging or aiding the other person to commit the offense.
Bingham alleged the shooting was the result of gang violence involving Bendy.
“All while a 20-year-old mother, out with her son, is shot in the chest and dies in that playground. The victim of gang crossfire. That's why we're here,” said Bingham.
Detective Chris Miller, a gang intelligence officer for the Tyler Police Department, testified that Dennis Bendy is a documented gang member in Tyler.
“What gang is he documented to be involved in?” asked Bingham. “The westside rolling 60s crips,” replied Miller.
Madeline Wallace, then-girlfriend of co-defendant Rahkeem Goldstein, also testified Bendy was in a gang with Goldstein. She went on to explain how she switched vehicles with Bendy on the day of the shooting. The state told the jury that switch is key to the case.
“He not only trades his car for the Elantra. He doesn't just drive the Elantra there with the killer. He steps out of that driver's side of the Elantra and he fires,” said Bingham.