LOCKPORT – Following a weeklong trial, a jury of seven men and five women took just three hours Tuesday to find Javon J. Ellison Sr. of Niagara Falls guilty in the shooting and attempted murder of Jermaine V. Lowe on June 4 in Niagara Falls.
The jury reconvened following the holiday and heard closing arguments from Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffman, who was assisted by Assistant District Attorney Heather A. Sloma, as well as court-appointed defense counsel Joseph J. Terranova. The jury found Ellison guilty on all counts, which included attempted murder, first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Ellison, 25, a three-time prior felon, was ordered held without bail until he returns for sentencing Aug. 27.
Terranova said prior to the trial that Ellison was offered a chance to plead guilty to the weapons charge, with a 10-year limit on sentencing agreed to by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon.
According to Terranova, he had urged his client to take the offer and warned him about the possibility of a sentence to life in prison as a persistent felon.
The victim, Lowe, 24, was shot on June 4 on 11th Street and Ontario Avenue. He survived being shot in the abdomen and is in state prison serving a four-year sentence for two burglaries.
Terranova told jurors that not having Lowe in the courtroom “spoke volumes.”
The credibility of a witness – Lowe’s girlfriend, Monique Russell – was also called into question in closing arguments after she proved to be uncooperative on the stand, though she previously told a 911 operator, detectives and a grand jury that Ellison was the shooter.
Hoffman said it was up to the jury to decide Russell’s credibility, but noted that jailhouse calls made by Ellison show that Russell had been paid and pressured, while Lowe agreed not to talk.
She asked the jury “for a verdict that puts aside street justice and brings back courtroom justice” and the jury apparently agreed with her on the assessment.