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Trial underway for man accused of downtown South Bend murder

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Testimony began Tuesday morning in the trial of Michael Young. 

Young is accused of killing Markest Flowers a step away from the curb near the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Main Street late in the evening of May 31, 2016.

Autopsy results showed Flowers died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

In court Tuesday, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor explained to the jury that evidence showed Flowers had tried to walk away from Young multiple times potentially with a coffee cup in his hand.

The prosecution continued their statement saying Young yelled at Flowers "You're not going nowhere!" before shooting him in the head.

Young was looking for a black man who had stolen $50 from his girlfriend and grabbed a 9mm Glock from his car before looking for the man, the prosecution continued.

The prosecution also says there is no evidence of self-defense in this case.

The defense painted a different picture in its opening statement, saying Young's intent was to find the man who stole money from his girlfriend and get him to return the money.

Young's attorney said he approached Flowers because he had on a red shirt and backpack, which matched the description of the man who stole the money.

The defense then claimed Flowers was threatening Young before lunging at him, which is when Young shot Flowers.

They also mentioned that Young was very cooperative with police.

Three South Bend Police officers who had responded to the scene took the stand. 

South Bend Police Officer Randall McMurray testified that he checked the victim when he arrived and took Young into custody without incident.

The defense asked McMurray "If Young had presented a threat you would have shot him, right?" to which McMurray replied "I can't say that".

McMurray also testified he did not see a coffee cup near the body at the scene of the crime. 

South Bend Police Officer Allen Wiegand also took the stand, testifying he responded to the call with his rookie partner, Corey Calvert. Wiegand testified that he checked the victim and determined he was dead.

He also stated Young was quiet and compliant and did not seem to be angry or enraged. 

Four eyewitnesses also took the stand Tuesday.

The prosecution played Tonya Winston's 911 call for the jury, during which she described the suspect as an older white man, bald, wearing a plaid shirt.

This description matches what the jury saw Michael Young wearing in the dashcam footage that was shared from Officer Wiegand's car.

In Winston's 911 call, she said she watched an older white man carrying a gun following a black 'kid' down Main Street, walking toward Colfax Avenue. She said she saw the white man raise his hand and then heard a 'pop!' and saw the black man drop to the ground.

She, and other eyewitnesses said they saw Young talking as he walked behind Flowers but did not see Flowers respond in any way.

Witness Charlie Bibbs was sitting in her car on Colfax Avenue when she witnessed the shooting.

Bibbs claims she saw Young following Flowers, who was holding a cup in his hand and stirring.

She said after she saw Young shoot Flowers, Young approached her car and said, "he tried to rob my girlfriend." She replied, "but you shot him," to which he said, "he was going to f*** me up."

Bibbs and the other eyewitnesses said they saw Young reach up with one hand, but their accounts vary on which hand he used.

Another witness, Dianna Pittman, said she didn't notice Flowers holding anything.

Throughout his cross-examinations, the defense attorney asked each witness about the timeline in detail, including questions about how long they were sitting at the stoplight in their cars and how quickly the shooting happened.

Markest Flowers' family seemed visibly upset by these questions as well as some of the evidence. When the prosecution showed graphic pictures of Flowers' body, some of his family members got up and left the courtroom.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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