Closing arguments in Vickers’ trial to start Tuesday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Closing arguments in the trial of Kelvin Vickers, the man accused of killing Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, will begin on Tuesday. Court is closed on Monday due to the holiday.

After 80 witnesses and 1,000 pieces of evidence, the testimony in the case against Vickers is over. When the jury returns after the long weekend, their deliberations could come down to answering one very difficult question: whether Vickers knew – or should have known – that the two men inside the minivan he’s accused of shooting up were police.

RPD officers Mazurkiewicz and his partner Sino Seng were inside that van. Officer Mazurkiewicz died. Officer Seng was wounded and remains on leave.

Prosecutors say Vickers murdered him, wounded his partner, and killed two other men in July of 2022.

The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office rested Friday. The defense will not present any evidence and Vickers will not testify.

His attorney, Mike Schiano, says Vickers though they were gang members trying to kill him. The district attorney got the jury to hear testimony of how gang wars really go.

Sandra Doorley, Monroe County district attorney: “That was not what was done in this case. Officers Mazurkiewicz and Seng were patient. They were surveilling. They were watching. That’s not what gang members do.”

Mike Schiano, defense attorney: “Clearly, it’s our argument that they had no clue these were cops at the scene.”

Berkeley Brean, New10NBC: And what difference does that make to your client?

Schiano: “It’s a huge difference. These are very serious allegations. It could be life without parole if he’s convicted of those charges.”

In total, Vickers is facing 24 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.

Vickers is also accused of shooting three men on North Clinton Avenue the day before Mazurkiewicz’s murder. Two of those men, Ricky Collinge Jr. and MyJel Rand, died.

The jury will return to court on Tuesday morning to hear the closing arguments in the case. Judge Julie Hahn reminded jurors not to form any opinions and to keep an open mind over the holiday weekend.

After the prosecution rested its case, Schiano asked for a dismissal. He told the judge that the case is based on “circumstantial evidence” and that “there is no direct evidence of the defendant’s involvement.” He also said that there is “absolutely no evidence whatsoever” that Vickers knew he was shooting at police.

In response, Assistant District Attorney Perry Duckles told the judge, “There is enough evidence to present the entire case to the jury.” The judge reserved a decision on the dismissal motion.

Earlier testimony Friday focused on the guns recovered after the ambush that killed Officer Mazurkiewicz. Testimony also focused on the autopsies of the people who Vickers is accused of killing.

According to the testimony, a gun with a “switch” was recovered in the area where Officer Mazurkiewicz was killed. A switch is an illegal device that turns a semiautomatic gun into a machine gun. News10NBC has reported on the danger of switches.

The jury also saw the autopsy photos of Rand. The Monroe County associate medical examiner says he died when a bullet pierced several organs and his vena cava, the large vein that returns blood to the heart.

Collinge died after he was struck by bullets to the head, body, arm, hand, and legs. His father left the courtroom as the jury was seeing autopsy photos of his murdered son.

The jury also heard a description of the bullets that went into Officer Mazurkiewicz’s body. The bullets went into his left side, back, and bottom of his left shoulder blade. The bullet into his side hit four vital organs.

You can see our complete coverage of the trial here: