Man, 21, to face trial in death of innocent teen bystander
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A bullet meant for an 18-year-old woman following a neighborhood dispute in Garfield instead killed Ne'Ondre Harbour, her innocent 16-year-old cousin, a prosecutor said Friday.
"Our witness was probably the intended target," said Deputy District Attorney Mark Tranquilli after a preliminary hearing in city court for Brandon Sewell, 21, of Homewood.
Mr. Sewell was ordered held for trial in the Oct. 14 killing at 408 N. Aiken Ave.
The witness -- whose name the district attorney requested not be used by the media -- identified Mr. Sewell as the black-clad gunman who opened fire into the porch with a revolver and hit her cousin in the chest.
Although difficult to understand in court, she indicated the shooting was the result of an ongoing neighborhood dispute between her and Mr. Sewell and their families that escalated that day.
The witness acknowledged referring to Mr. Sewell as "a bitch" and said she had often argued with him, his mother, Leah Bey, and her husband, Thomas Bey -- Mr. Sewell's stepfather -- who live nearby at 412 N. Aiken.
At one point on Oct. 14, she and Leah Bey squared off with baseball bats and then got into a fight that others broke up. She said Thomas Bey then said he was going to "call someone" to take care of the witness.
"[Bey] would not let it go," Mr. Tranquilli said.
Family members on both sides converged on 408 N. Aiken, the home of the witness' friend, Shaun'Keya Estes, where she regularly hung out. Ne'Ondre came, too.
"I think he came up to look out for his kid cousin," Mr. Tranquilli said.
A short time later, while Ne'Ondre, the witness and her brother were sitting on the porch, she said Mr. Sewell appeared in black clothing and fired five shots at the house.
She said Ne'Ondre yelled an expletive when the shooting started and then ran, collapsing nearby. The witness ran into the house and took cover with the eight other people inside, including several children.
When the shooting stopped, she said she looked out through the peephole and saw Mr. Sewell standing outside with a gun. She said he then tucked it into the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and ran away.
In addition to the homicide and related offenses, prosecutors added a weapons charge because, Mr. Tranquilli said, Mr. Sewell is a convicted felon who isn't allowed to carry a gun.
That charge is likely to land Mr. Sewell in federal court at some point, because the U.S. attorney's office here prosecutes felons with guns under a Justice Department program called Project Safe Neighborhoods. While that charge is often dismissed at the state level, the federal system calls for five years in a federal prison far from home.
First Published October 27, 2012 12:00 am