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Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, but a judge said following a 2008 preliminary hearing that the homicide qualified as a potential capital crime because it was done to retaliate against a court witness, and because it put at risk the life of Samora’s girlfriend, Tilina Whiteplume, who was in the car with him when the fatal shots were fired.
Whiteplume told the jury Samora covered her with his body as the bullets pierced her car. She later found one lodged in the back of her seat. If it had gone through, she would have been hit in the chest.
She didn’t see who had done the shooting.
Prater’s trial, before Judge Robin Reese, is scheduled to last through the week.
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