In Chesapeake ‘Pokemon Go’ murder trial, prosecution nears end of case

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The prosecution is nearing the end of its case against Johnathan Cromwell.

Prosecutors say 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen was a grandfather who was playing Pokemon Go when he was killed on January 26, 2017.

He died just down the street from his home in the Riverwalk community.

Defense attorneys paint Chen as a repeat trespasser who was trying to elude a security guard the night of his death.

The defense has never argued who did the shooting, and if those shots killed Chen, though they say it was self defense and Cromwell fired because he was fearing for his life.

PREVIOUS: Defense, prosecution make opening statements in ‘Pokemon Go’ murder trial

Chen was shot five times. Four of those fatal wounds were in the left upper chest. The medical examiner told the jury all the bullets were recovered from Chen’s body.

Those bullets, along with Cromwell’s gun, were sent to the state lab for testing.

It’s no surprise, but all the shell casings and bullets from the scene came from Cromwell’s semi automatic gun.

The jury then heard a interview between Cromwell and detectives the night the shooting happened.

“I kept shooting until the vehicle stopped,” Cromwell said.

Cromwell said he saw a minivan pull up in the area of the clubhouse and he went to investigate.  He told police when he tried to talk to Chen, the 60-year-old shook his head no, put the van into reverse and then drove right toward him.

“I drew my firearm and was yelling ‘stop the car,’ ‘stop the car,’” Cromwell told police. “That’s when I started shooting and the first couple rounds went through the driver’s window.”

Cromwell said he worked for Citywide Protection Services since November 2016. He would routinely patrol neighborhoods and business in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

He told detectives he cited Chen about two weeks earlier for trespassing after dark. Chen and his roommate were playing Pokemon Go. 

Cromwell says he fired 10 shots. After the shooting, Cromwell told his friend who was doing a ride-along to grab his medical kit from the car and call 911. 

Cromwell says he used to work for a body removal company, and when he moved Chen he knew he was already dead.

The detective said after the interview Cromwell offered to show him a video from his firearms training, followed by asking the detective if his shots ended all grouped together.

Prosecutors are expected to call one last witness Monday morning before coming to rest.

Cromwell was charged with first-degree murder.  Defense attorneys argue the shooting was self defense.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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