by: Delaney Ruth
Wednesday October 18, 2023
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a local religious leader is underway.
John Wooden Jr. is facing 11 charges after police say he shot and killed Imam Mohamed Hassan Adam back in December of 2021.
On Tuesday morning the prosecution and the defense gave their opening statements to the jury and then witnesses took the stand.
Wooden’s defense attorney did ask for a bench trial so only a judge would hear the case, but it was clear that a jury was present in the courtroom Tuesday as opening statements began.
The prosecution started with the facts of this case.
“Officers arrived at 1486 Windsor Ave. here in Franklin County and they went to a vacant lot. They found the body of Mohamed Hassan Adam. They found his yellow GMC van and they found some shell casings,” said prosecutor Jack Wong.
The prosecutor said that the lot on Windsor Avenue where Adam’s body and his van were located belongs to Wooden and his family. Wong went on to say that cell phone and video evidence would be big in this case, and he told the jury the theme of this trial will be concealment. But Wooden’s defense argued that the state’s evidence will not be enough to convict his client.
“Look at it and at the conclusion of all of this, and at the conclusion of the examination of all of these records, that are going to be put in front of you over the next week and a half. You are not going to be able to say that you are firmly convinced of the truth of the charges,” said defense attorney Paul Scarsella.
Some witnesses also took the stand on Tuesday including Adam’s daughter and ex-wife along with two Columbus police officers.
The jury saw new body camera footage from Dec. 24 which is the day Adam’s body was discovered.
Tuesday was only the second day of the trial and many more witnesses are expected to take the stand over the next week and a half.