PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Bullets. Blood. Bolden.
Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield told a jury during opening statements on Tuesday the murder case they were about to hear evidence for included “a lot of bullets, a lot of blood and it all started with Xavier Bolden.”
Bolden is on trial for the 2013 murder of Durieul Harris. Harris died after being shot 3 times, according to Banfield’s opening statements.
Bolden’s criminal defense attorney, John E. Gutbezahl, told the jury the state’s evidence and theories on the case are incomplete.
“He’s innocent,” Gutbezahl told the jury.
The shooting happened outside the now-closed Fontaine Bleau nightclub at Northeast 3rd Avenue and Broadway Street.
According to Banfield’s opening statements, there was an annual party that night. It was a black-tie affair. People were headed to the club to have a good time.
“The champagne was flowing,” Banfield said. “Everyone was having a good time hanging out with friends and family.”
There were about 200 people at the club.
Bolden arrived at the club with some friends. Instead of going through the front entrance like everyone else, where security was conducting pat-downs, Bolden was let in through a backdoor.
“They slipped in,” Banfield said.
The party continued and surveillance video captured the evening.
Things took a “sour turn” inside the club’s small bathroom. That’s when Bolden and Harris had an encounter.
Video from the club showed Bolden entering the hallway that leads to the bathroom at 1:29 a.m. on November 9, 2013.
At 1:33 a.m. Harris made his way into the hallway and then the bathroom.
“We don’t know what was said,” Banfield said. “But that bathroom was busy all night.”
Police speculate it was a place where people could engaged in potential illicit activity without being detected.
At 1:36 a.m. security rushed into the hallway and then the bathroom to break up a fight.
Bolden and Harris were both kicked out of the club. Bolden was tossed out the same back door that he and his friends snuck in through, and Harris the front door.
The fight inside the club incited the crowd. Bar stools were thrown. Security inside was overrun.
The lights came on at 1:37 a.m. and people were told to leave. Police were called to help break up the fight.
Harris “was hot,” according to the prosecutor. He had just gotten beaten up. His family tried to cool him down.
The first arriving officers pulled up and jumped out of their patrol cars to a chaotic scene.
Bolden, according to the state’s theory, walked south on NE 3rd Avenue from NE Schuyler where he confronted Harris and shot him on NE Broadway.
One of the police officers first on scene told homicide detectives he saw Harris standing on the corner when he heard shots, saw the air fill with smoke and then saw Harris go down.
Officers rushed to help Harris. According to Banfield, then Officer Christopher Burley actually moved patrol cars up onto the curb to surround Harris’ body from the crowds and from the bullets that were still being fired.
“It was an active shooting scene,” Banfield said.
The officers eventually carried Harris’ body to medical teams who pronounced him dead.
Banfield said detectives recovered 3 .40 caliber shell casings that were all close in proximity to Harris’ body.
Of all the casings recovered that night – more than 10 – the prosecutor called those 3 “the most important.”
As officers were investigating the shooting, they located a gun inside a car that was parked near the nightclub. It was a .40 caliber Glock handgun.
Oregon State Police tested the gun and determined it was the same gun that fired the 3 bullets that killed Harris. The gun carried a 15-round magazine, according to Banfield.
OSP worked backwards and found that round #15 was still in the chamber, ready to be fired. According to OSP there was a finger and palm print on bullet #15 that was “a perfect match” to Bolden.
The state’s theory is that bullets #14, #13 and #12 were the ones recovered from Harris’ body.
Gutbezahl – Bolden’s defense attorney – told the jury that, at first glance, the state’s theory on the case and its evidence seems “compelling.”
“But nothing is guaranteed about that forensic evidence,” Gutbezahl said.
The defense plans on showing the limitations of that evidence to raise doubt in the case.
Gutbezahl said no OSP scientist will be able to confirm with 100% certainly that Bolden fired the gun.
“Perhaps he touched it,” Gutbezahl said. “Perhaps he touched that bullet.”
The jury is made up of 8 women and 6 men. There are 2 alternate jurors. The trial is expected to last through March.