Testimony begins in trial of man accused of killing high school student

Opening statements and testimony began on Monday, in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a high school student last February in Minneapolis.

Deshaun Hill Jr., 15, was walking home from school nearly one year ago when the North High School football star and honor roll student was shot and killed.

Hill’s mother, Tuesday Sheppard, was the first to testify Monday in the trial of 29-year-old Cody Fohrenkam, who’s accused of pulling the trigger.

Sheppard said Hill “loved everything, friends, teachers and his sports.”

“A lot of kids wanted to be like him, instead of LeBron James, they wanted to be like Deshaun Hill. That’s how great he was,” she added.

Investigators say Hill was walking on Golden Valley Road when he walked by Fohrenkam and appeared to brush shoulders. Then, three shots could be heard and Fohrenkam ran off.

“He ran away, leaving 15-year-old Deshaun Hill to die on a street corner for no apparent reason,” Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Chris Filipski told jurors, adding that a tip led police to Fohrenkam.

Fohrenkam’s attorney, Brooke Adams, said her client didn’t kill Hill, noting “how little evidence” prosecutors have, saying there’s no gun, DNA or even the red pants a witness described the suspect as wearing.

Ashley McNamara told the jury she heard gunshots and then ran to Hill, who was bleeding in the street. McNamara said she never saw the shooter’s face but said, “there was no altercation … it was so random.”

Several witnesses had to pause to compose themselves as they held back tears while recalling the moments they found Hill wounded in the snow. Tissues were passed around between Hill’s family and friends as they heard and saw details about the case.

Several investigators also testified Monday afternoon. Prosecutors say surveillance video allegedly caught Fohrenkam in the area.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, opening statements were supposed to happen last Friday. However, the defense team asked for an extension, saying their client was anxious because he hasn’t been able to contact his family from jail. The defense said Fohrenkam wanted to speak with family about negotiations regarding the case and possibly help make a decision.

If convicted, Fohrenkam could spend up to 40 years in prison.

The trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday morning and could last through the week.