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Jury selection begins in second trial for Jamaica man convicted of murder

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Tyrone Johnson, 26, was found guilty last June of killing Leroy...

Just over a year after a Jamaica man was convicted of shooting a 50-year-old acquaintance while allegedly trying to steal his car, a second jury was chosen this week to hear the case again.

Tyrone Johnson, 26, was found guilty last June of killing Leroy Vann, 50, outside Vann’s Jamaica home, but a new trial was ordered when the prosecutor on the case withheld the whereabouts of a witness who said she saw the shooting.

Jury selection for Johnson’s new trial began Monday in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Information on how long the trial was expected to last was unavailable, a spokesman for the district attorney said.

Johnson, of 153-15 122nd Ave. in Jamaica, was convicted of murder, two counts of attempted robbery and two weapons charges by a jury after they deliberated for 4 1/2 hours in June 2002.

The possibility of the retrial arose in November, when Brown learned that Claude Stuart, the prosecutor assigned to the case, had said he did not know where to find Shanese Knight, the aunt of a key witness for the prosecution and a witness to the shooting. Stuart had, however, met with Knight at her office four days earlier with two detectives from the district attorney’s office.

Stuart resigned from the district attorney’s office in December.

According to testimony at the first trial, Johnson and an accomplice approached Vann on 112th Avenue and demanded the keys to his Jaguar in February 2000. When Vann refused, the two men threw him against the car, Brown said at the time of Johnson’s conviction. Johnson and his accomplice tried to handcuff Vann, but he resisted and Johnson’s weapon fired, hitting Vann in the chest, Brown had said.

— Courtney Dentch

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