The trial begins this week for the man accused of shooting and killing a 20-month-old child in Syracuse. Saquan Evans is charged with second-degree murder in the death of little Rashad Walker Junior. The case involves gangs, as well as another murder and other crimes. Our Kat De Maria takes us through the details.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "It would've been better if they would've took me instead of him. I'd already lived 19 years of my life. He didn't even get to live two years of his life,” said the victim’s father, Rashad Walker Sr. in November 2010.
What we didn't know, when Rashad Walker Senior was mourning the death of his young son, is that the people who shot little Rashad were actually targeting him.
As the investigation unfolded, a lot was revealed about gangs in Syracuse and their criminal activity over the years. Within weeks of little Rashad's death, in November 2010, police arrested Saquan Evans for the murder.
Frank Fowler, Syracuse Police Chief said in November 2010, “Rashad Walker Senior is a member of the 110 gang. And our suspect is this case is a member of the Bricktown gang."
As the chief explained, Evans was allegedly targeting members of the 110 gang when he came upon the Walkers in their van on Coolidge Avenue in the city, in retaliation for the shooting of Henninger High School basketball star Kihary Blue days earlier.
The following summer, Kahari Smith was arrested and charged with Blue's death, and we learned Smith's V-Not gang, not the 110, was allegedly responsible for that shooting.
Smith has since been indicted on federal conspiracy charges, as have more than a dozen members of the Bricktown gang, including Evans.
Authorities cite drug activity, murders and more dating back more than a decade. What this means for Evans, as his trial gets underway this week, is that he faces 25 years to life for little Rashad's murder.
Then Evans will be tried federally, where he could face the death penalty.
Rory O'Connor, ATF Assistant Special Agent in charge, said in April 2011, “When you're killing a 20 month old child or killing innocent victims and shooting a woman in the head, you're a significant member of the gang. And you need to be held accountable."
Dozens of people from Evans and Rashad Walker's families have packed past court appearances.
As the trial begins, they and we will learn more about just what happened to cause a less than two-year-old child to die.
All 12 jurors were seated during jury selection Monday, ahead of expectations. Saquan Evans' trial continues Tuesday morning with opening statements.