Trial Gets Started for 2 Men Charged in Death of Bystander at Boston Street Festival

The trial for two men charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of an innocent bystander at a Boston street festival in 2014 began Monday in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.

Prosecutors say Keith Williams and Wesson Colas were rivals who confronted each other with guns near a Caribbean festival in Dorchester in August 2014. Prosecutors say Williams fired, but Colas did not.

A bullet struck and killed 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier, a city youth worker who was an innocent bystander.

Talia Hyatt, a friend of Jaffier, provided emotional testimony after opening statements ended Monday.

Hyatt testified that she was walking with Jaffier to the parade in Dorchester when she heard gunshots.

"I looked behind me," Hyatt said, "and she was on the ground."

Hyatt said she ran to Jaffier and immediately noticed she had been shot in the head.

"I stayed with her the entire time."

Tiffany Beckman took the stand following Hyatt and said she met up with Jaffier and Hyatt at the parade.

She said that the three of them passed a group of guys who tried to talk to them. The women did not stop and gunfire erupted seconds later, according to Beckman.

Beckman acknowledged that she didn’t see faces of men they passed and could not identify the defendants. 

The third witness of the day was Sharon Efstathiou, a paramedic in Boston, who described the scene of the shooting.

"When I walked up to the scene there was a large amount of blood," she said. "EMTs on scene said she had no pulse."

Jaffier's father, Ian Jaffier, spoke after Efstathiou and said he ran into his daughter the day before the parade. The next time he saw his daughter she was on life support after the shooting.

"She was pretty much already gone, she was just on life support," he said.

Under state law, both men face murder charges and will be tried together even though they are rivals. Their defense lawyers had asked a judge to separate the cases.

Williams's attorney says his client was wrongly identified as the shooter.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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