Off-duty Howland firefighter tells jury in Hamad case what he saw

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Testimony in the trial for Nasser Hamad began on Monday in Warren.

Hamad is on trial for capital murder charges in connection with a February shooting at his Howland home that killed two and injured three.

Day one of the trial wrapped up at the Trumbull County Courthouse on Monday but phase one is only just beginning.

Calling 12 witnesses to the stand, all of whom didn’t want to be photographed, the state kept the focus on what they saw that February afternoon.

One of those witnesses was Benjamin Moody, an off-duty Howland firefighter who pulled up to the scene. Initially, he thought it was an accident with injuries.

“I noticed the bullet holes and saw somebody standing there. I looked and he had his hands in between his legs and was doing something with a gun, whether he was reloading or it jammed. He was racking, trying to fix it or something,” Moody said.

Prosecutors say Hamad coaxed the victims to his home where he had a loaded 9mm handgun waiting.

“The evidence and testimony will show he chose the time, place, manner, and mode of death for his victims. The defendant had a loaded gun and a loaded magazine ready to use,” said Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.

But Hamad’s attorneys say he was acting in self-defense, telling the jury he will take the stand to tell them his account of the events.

“What this is all about is Nasser acting in self-defense,” Atty. David Doughten said. “If the judge gives you that instruction, you’ll learn that to judge self-defense, you’ll have to put yourself in the shoes of the defendant.”

Testimony will resume on Tuesday morning. April Trent and John Shively, two of the three surviving victims, are scheduled to testify.