Security guard accused of murder in Chesapeake to take stand on Tuesday

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Commonwealth has rested its case against a security guard accused of murder in Chesapeake.

Johnathan Cromwell has spent five days watching one witness after another take the stand in his murder trial. 

On Tuesday morning, Cromwell will testify in his own defense.

Cromwell is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 60-year-old Jiansheng Chen in Chesapeake’s River Walk community in 2017.

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Prosecutors have argued that Chen was a grandfather  who was playing the smartphone game Pokemon Go when he was shot by Cromwell. 

The defense has never argued against who shot Chen — but their case centers on proving to the jury that Cromwell was fearing for his life and fired those shots in self-defense.

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

Day five of Cromwell’s murder trial was mostly procedural.

The Commonwealth called Chen’s niece to the stand before resting its case. She testified that her uncle wasn’t at home for hours before the shooting.

Cromwell has been very silent throughout this trial.

When the defense began its case, Cromwell’s attorney Andrew Sacks said he might call seven witnesses, including Cromwell, but he wasn’t sure.

Just before court ended, Cromwell leaned over to Sacks and whispered something. Sacks then stood up and said his client decided he will testify.

Sacks told the judge Monday morning that this shouldn’t be a first-degree murder case. He says there wasn’t premeditation.

He says at best it should be manslaughter, but ultimately he thinks it was self-defense. 

The is another anticipated witness who has yet to take the stand. 

Cromwell’s friend was doing a ride along the him the night Chen was shot and killed. 

Even though he is the only eyewitness, he was not called by prosecutors, and there is no word if he will be called by the defense.

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