District Attorney gives closing argument in trial of Kelvin Vickers
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Closing arguments are underway in the trial of Kelvin Vickers, the man accused of killing Rochester Police Officer Tony Mazurkiewicz and two others.
After the closing arguments, jurors will go home and return for Wednesday’s deliberations. Closing arguments come after ten days of testimony with 80 witnesses and 1,000 pieces of evidence. You can follow News10NBC investigative reporter Jennifer Lewke for the latest updates on Twitter from the Hall of Justice.
Vickers is accused of carrying out a shooting that killed Officer Mazurkiewicz and wounded his partner Officer Sino Seng while they were working undercover.
Vickers is also accused of shooting three other men on North Clinton Avenue the day earlier. Two of those men, Ricky Collinge Jr. and MyJel Rand, died. Mazurkiewicz and Seng were investigating those murders and an illegal marijuana trade when they were ambushed in their unmarked minivan on Bauman Street.
Closing arguments for prosecution (underway):
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley begins to wrap up her closing argument by showing surveillance video that allows the jury to again hear the gunshots that took the life of Officer Mazurkiewicz and wounded Officer Seng.
“Why kill a police officer?” Doorley says, “they knew the cops were closing in on them, what better way to take care of it or buy themselves some extra time than to send a guy from out of town to ambush them… they figured he could leave as quickly as he arrived”
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley started closing arguments by saying that the trial is “not about a gang war, this is a trial about Kelvin Vickers’ actions”.
She’s presented her argument chronologically, starting with a shooting that happened before Rand and Collinge were killed. “I submit to you that we have proven every single element in every single charge,” Doorley said.
During arguments, the mother of Collinge held her head in her hands, sitting next to Lynn Mazurkiewicz who is trying to comfort her.
Closing arguments for defense:
“The only possible conclusion that can be reached is it was retaliation for the murders that happened 8 hours before. Those in that Chevy Malibu knew who killed their friends” Doorley says as she shows video of the drive by shooting the day before Ofc. Mazurkiewicz’s murder.
DA Doorley is recounting the wounds to Ricky Collinge while making her case that Vickers is responsible for his death and that of Myjel Rand. Ricky’s mom has her head in her hands, she’s sitting next to Lynn Mazurkiewicz who is trying to comfort her.
Doorley now showing video and comparing the man in the video with Kelvin Vickers. “You can see his face, you can see his face here today. You can see the tattoos on his hands, look at his hands today” she says and she turns and looks straight at Kelvin Vickers.
She’s presenting her argument chronologically, starting with a shooting that happened before Myjel Rand and Ricky Collinge were killed. Vickers is charged with Reckless Endangerment and Criminal Possession of a weapon in relation to this shooting.
Mike Schiano has wrapped up his closing arguments in the case against Kelvin Vickers. We’re on a short break and then DA Sandra Doorley will take over.
“They thought they were going to get shot up, they took defensive position, would they really be hiding behind a garbage can with a mini-Draco if they thought it was the cops,” Schiano asks,trying to reinforce his defense that the men on Laser St. thought the van was a rival gang.
“Who identified Kelvin Vickers on the street that night?”- Schiano says, reminding the jury that there was no witness who placed Vickers directly at the scene of Myjel Rand and Ricky Collinge’s shootings.
Vickers’ defense attorney Mike Schiano began closing arguments by saying “Shots fired”, among the first words in the trial. Schiano argued that there isn’t enough evidence that Vickers killed Collinge and Rand, with North Clinton Avenue being an “open air drug market” where shootings happen frequently. He said people there “find shells and casings are like finding pebbles and sand on the beach”.
“You saw all this video evidence, did you ever see him driving a car?” Schiano asked. He said Vickers was only in Rochester for a matter of days and was in “a war zone, where everyone was shooting at each other”
Schiano said there was no witness who placed Vickers directly at the deadly North Clinton Avenue shooting.
“They have a video that shows three people shooting down the street, did anyone identify my client specifically one of those three people?” Schiano asked, “You see three individuals recklessly shooting down the street but you don’t know who they are.”
Schiano reminded the jury that there were cameras inside both houses on Laser Street but they only saw one shot of Kelvin Vickers putting a gun in his pocket from them. “If they were watching the cameras and seeing cops drive by, where’s the video?”
Many members of law enforcement came to the Hall of Justice for closing arguments, including RPD Officer Denny Wright who was blinded in the line of duty in October of 2019. Several members of the RPD Tactical Unit, which Officer Mazurkiewicz was a member of, also came. Lynn, the wife of Officer Mazurkiewicz, was escorted into the courtroom by the Tactical Unit.
Charges that Vickers faces:
In total, Vickers is facing more than 20 charges for crimes that happened over the span of three days. Prosecutors say that Vickers is a gang member brought in from Boston during a turf war between factions over the illegal marijuana trade.
Here is the list of Vickers’ charges:
- Aggravated Murder
- Four counts of Murder in the 1st Degree
- Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Attempted Aggravated Murder
- Two counts of Attempted Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Assault in the 2nd Degree
- Fourteen counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree
- Reckless Endangerment in the 1st Degree
- Arson in the 4th Degree
For the jury to find Vickers guilty of the most serious charge, aggravated murder, they must decide that Vickers knew he was ambushing police officers. Being found guilty on that charge guarantees that Vickers will get life without parole.
You can see our complete coverage of the trial here:
- DAY TEN: Prosecution rests case in Vickers trial
- DAY NINE: ‘Barrage of bullets’: Officer Sino Seng testifies about ambush that wounded him, killed partner
- DAY EIGHT: Officer Mazurkiewicz’s widow cries as jury watches video of moments before fatal ambush
- DAY SEVEN: Jury hears testimony on DNA evidence
- DAY SIX: Jury sees body camera footage of Vickers hiding in crawl space
- DAY FIVE: Tactical officers testify about night of Officer Mazurkiewicz’s death
- DAY FOUR: Prosecution wraps up case in murder of Ricky Collinge Jr. and MyJel Rand
- DAY THREE: Evidence technicians speak about recovering bullets in shooting of Collinge and Rand
- DAY TWO: Jury sees body-worn camera footage in shooting of Collinge and Rand
- DAY ONE: Opening statements; Victim’s family sits 10 feet from Vickers