Opening Arguments Heard in Peloquin Murder

Kareem Petty enters the courtroom.
Kareem Petty enters the courtroom.

Gloria Peloquin's family is finally getting their day in court. The mother of three was shot and killed in April, 2004. She was sitting in her van at the Save-A-Lot parking lot off Waters Avenue when police say Kareem Petty tried to rob her, then shot her. Today jurors began hearing the case against Petty.

Prosecutors called a few witnesses to the stand who say they saw Petty shoot Peloquin. Defense attorneys argued Petty didn't do it, and police got the wrong man.

Petty, only 16 years old when he was arrested for murdering Peloquin, strolled into court today. He's facing life in prison.

Attorneys representing both sides laid out their cases for the jury. Prosecutor Melanie Higgins says Petty is a killer and she says she has witnesses and Petty's own confession to prove it.

"He gives a variety of stories but ultimately confesses to shooting Mrs. Peloquin," she told jurors.

Higgins recounted part of Petty's statement: "'I shot her but Fox told me to, I shot her but it was an accident,' finally he says, 'I shot her.'"

Petty's attorneys say he may have told police that, but it's not true. Attorney James Burn told jurors, "He says, 'Mama, I didn't do it Mama, I didn't do it, he's going to kill me.'"

"He" is Irvin Fox, Petty's friend, and the defense says he was the shooter. "We're not disputing that he was in the Save-A-Lot parking lot," said Burn. "We're not going to say he wasn't. The difference is we're saying he's not the killer in this case."

He told the jury to find Petty not guilty. "Tell Kareem he can come home with his family. Tell police to go arrest Mr. Fox, the killer in this case."

Police believe Irvin Fox's only involvement in the case was to help Petty escape from the Save-A-Lot before police arrived. He was never charged in the case.

Petty's family and the Peloquins were both in court today.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter,