Jonathan Calvert was “robbed of all of his hopes and all of his dreams” during a fatal 2011 armed robbery on Aster Street that netted his killers just $17 and two cellphones, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday at the trial of a Baton Rouge man accused in Calvert’s death.
“That’s what John Calvert was taken from this earth for,” East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Will Morris said in his opening statement at Aaron Taylor’s trial on one count of second-degree murder and three counts of armed robbery.
Morris told the jury that another Baton Rouge man, Mohammed Collins, shot and killed Calvert, 28, and wounded Collins’ alleged accomplice, Taylor, inside a Winnebago at 1232 Aster St., near the LSU campus at about 11:15 p.m. May 4, 2011.
Collins, 21, was convicted earlier this year on one count of second-degree murder and three counts of armed robbery and was sentenced to life in prison.
Morris argued Tuesday that Taylor, 22, is every bit as responsible for Calvert’s death.
“The crime team of Mohammed Collins and Aaron Taylor killed John Calvert,” Morris told the jury inside state District Judge Don Johnson’s courtroom.
Taylor’s attorney, Bruce Craft, vehemently disagreed. He said Taylor did not fire a weapon and did not shoot anyone.
“Mohammed Collins did. The responsible person, the murderer, is Mohammed Collins,” Craft countered in his own opening statement.
“Was Aaron there? Yes,” he acknowledged. “Aaron Taylor does not deserve to go to prison for the rest of his life for being there that night.”
Craft also argued that Taylor “had no idea” what Collins wanted to do that night.
Jay Price, one of the armed-robbery victims and the owner of the Aster Street house, appeared to contradict that assertion when he testified Collins and his accomplice both pointed guns at his head before robbing him and several of his friends who had gathered at Price’s home.
“They were pretty upset that we didn’t have more money,” Price testified.
Morris said Calvert had traveled from Indiana with his girlfriend to visit Price in Baton Rouge.
Police have said Calvert was fatally shot by Collins when he resisted Taylor’s demands and fought over a gun during the holdup. Collins and Taylor had robbed several of Calvert’s friends at Price’s house, police said.
Taylor then demanded money from Calvert, who was inside a Winnebago with his girlfriend, Morris said. Calvert refused, he said.
Collins heard the scuffle inside the Winnebago and ran toward it, firing into it from the doorway, police said. The bullets struck Taylor and Calvert, police stated.
Taylor initially told police he was shot in a drive-by shooting.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Armed robbery carries up to 99 years in prison.
The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.