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Jerren Stuckey tells judge he'll testify at his Harrisburg murder trial

After an intense discussion with his lawyer, Jerren Stuckey told Dauphin County Judge John F. Cherry on Wednesday that he intends to testify at his trial for the slaying of Harrisburg club operator Rayon Braxton.

It is expected that defense attorney George Matangos will call Stuckey to the witness stand when the trial reconvenes Wednesday afternoon.

A lot is at stake for the 26-year-old Susquehanna Township man.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer is seeking a first-degree murder conviction and life prison sentence for Stuckey for Braxton’s Nov. 27, 2015 shooting death at his business, Braxton Hall, in the city’s Allison Hill section.

Baer contends that Stuckey killed Braxton over a bad debt. Investigators said Braxton was shot seven times inside Braxton Hall on the third floor of the former Big Ugly Warehouse building on Carlisle Street. The killing occurred a few hours before a rap battle was scheduled at the club.

As the trial entered its third day, Baer introduced findings of state police experts regarding a jacket found in the back of a car police claim Stuckey drove on the evening of the murder. Blood was found on the jacket, Baer said, but “no interpretable” DNA results could be determined.

Michael Gorski, an expert in gunshot residue, said a “small to medium” amount of such residue was found on the jacket. Under Matangos’ questioning, he said it is possible for residue to be transferred from one object to another.

Questioned by Deputy District Attorney Kristie Falbo, Detective Richard Gibney described how police first made contact with Stuckey through Stuckey’s father, Thomas, a former officer in the state police, hours after the slaying.

Gibney said the elder Stuckey called his son, who agreed that he would come in for an interview with police, but wanted to speak with Matangos first. “At the time we told him we believed he was a witness,” the detective said.

Stuckey didn’t come to the police station then or after another phone contact several days later, Gibney said. He acknowledged that Matangos informed investigators that he would not allow police to interview his client.

The detective said Stuckey was arrested Dec. 9 after his car was spotted parked near Harrisburg Hospital, where one of Stuckey’s girlfriends was a having a baby. “He acted like he had no idea what was going on,” Gibney said of the arrest. “He said, ‘What are you arresting me for?'”

Lower Paxton Township Detective James Glucksman testified that cell phone records put Stuckey in the area when Braxton was killed just before 8 p.m. Minutes after the slaying, Braxton’s phone connected with a cell tower along the Susquehanna River, Glucksman said.

Stuckey made his decision to testify during a recess in the trial. Cherry warned Stuckey that Baer will be able to use his prior conviction as a juvenile in a robbery case to try to impeach him in front of the jury.

Matangos opened the defense case by calling Gibney as a witness. He asked the detective a battery of questions concerning what lines of investigation and which potential witnesses police did not pursue during the probe of Braxton’s murder

At one point, Baer and Matangos got into a heated dispute about whether a particular piece of evidence was inadmissible as hearsay. When the jury was dismissed, Matangos asked that a mistrial be declared, but Cherry denied his request

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