A West Philadelphia man went on trial Monday in last year's shootout at the "grand reopening" of a North Philadelphia bar that killed a bouncer who was the stepgrandson of boxing legend Joe Frazier.
Although evidence points to the shooter of Peter Lyde Jr. as a short, red-shirted man who escaped, Assistant District Attorney Leon Goodman told the Common Pleas Court jury that Rodney Evans had put events in motion, and that he was as culpable as the man whose bullet hit Lyde.
"When an innocent person gets killed," Goodman said, "both of them are responsible. Both acted with an intent to kill."
However, defense attorney Jack McMahon told the jury the evidence would show that Evans, 33, was not armed, and that no spent cartridge casings were found where he was standing outside the North Philadelphia bar.
"This man never shot anyone on the planet that night," McMahon said in his opening statement.
Testimony is to begin Tuesday before Judge Shelley Robins New.
Lyde, 25, also the stepson of Municipal Court Judge Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde, had just been hired as a bouncer for the May 31, 2009, reopening of Pleasures on the Ridge at 22d Street and Ridge Avenue.
According to Goodman, Evans - at 6-foot-5 "the tallest man in the bar" - got into a heated argument with the 5-foot-5 man in the red shirt after the latter had taken the seat of a girlfriend at the bar.
Goodman said witnesses would testify that the early-morning argument culminated with Evans pulling a gun and the shorter man running outside with Evans in pursuit.
The men began shooting at each other. One bullet hit Lyde, who was handling security outside at the door, in the chest.
Goodman said the Medical Examiner's Office determined Lyde was killed by a .40-caliber bullet, and .40-caliber cartridge casings were found across 22d Street, where the red-shirted man was shooting.
McMahon told the jury he believed the bar patrons knew the identity of the red-shirted man but were protecting him. He noted that Evans remained on the scene and was handcuffed and questioned by a police sergeant after patrons had identified him as one of the two men arguing.
When a search showed Evans was not carrying a weapon, McMahon said, police released him.
Evans surrendered and was charged Sept. 2.