Trial begins for Travon Bennett, charged with fatally shooting Md. teen Marckel Ross on his way to school

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. (WJLA) – A trial began Monday for a Maryland man charged with fatally shooting a Prince George’s County teenager who was on his way to school nearly two years ago.

Police say 18-year-old Central High School honor student Marckel Ross was killed the morning of Sept. 11, 2012 in the 6100 block of Central Avenue. The teen was apparently shot during an attempted robbery.

Ross’ father, Norman Thompson, described his son as a happy, normal high school student who ran track, loved to roller skate and aspired to work in the fashion industry.

“He had a bright spirit; he not only was a strong student, but he participated in our modeling team,” Central High School Principal Charoscar Coleman told ABC 7 News in 2012, shortly after the 11th-grader’s death. “He was very popular among the staff.”

In February 2013, Prince George’s County Police arrested and charged Travon Bennett, of Charles County, Md., in connection with Ross’ death. Bennett had been arrested in the fall of 2012 for a street robbery, and detectives found the gun used in that robbery matched the one used to kill Ross.

Ross’ friends and family packed the courtroom on Monday, the victim’s mother in tears. Prosecutors laid out their case against 21-year-old Bennett, saying he killed Ross when he refused to give up his cellphone and iPod.

Prosecutors say Bennett’s friends, a fellow jail mate, and a man who survived a robbery—even though he was shot in the chest—will testify against him. The defense, however, said Bennett’s friends and fellow inmate probably cut a deal with prosecutors. They also said the man who survived the robbery made conflicting statements during the investigation.

The defense told the jury there are neither witnesses nor evidence placing Bennett at the crime scene.

Prosecutors called several witnesses on Monday, during a trial that is expected to take all week.