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Prosecutors: Cellphone Records Put Pair Near Scene Of DJ Mo Murder

December 14, 2018
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Prosecutors: Cellphone Records Put Pair Near Scene Of DJ Mo Murder

WILKES-BARRE — Shortly after the deadly drive-by shooting of popular deejay Michael Onley, one of his alleged killers arrived at police headquarters and gave a statement rife with inaccuracies, according to testimony Thursday.

David “D-Rock” Nealy, 37, of Kingston, claimed to be unable to identify his alleged co-conspirator in a photo lineup, telling investigators that all eight men “looked alike,” Luzerne County Detective Lt. Daniel Beky told jurors.

“He told me he couldn’t,” Beky said. “He didn’t recognize anyone in that photo array.”

In fact, one of the men was Nealy’s associate Roberto “Ruthless” Battle, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, according to prosecutors.

Both men are charged with murdering Onley during a drive-by shooing at the now-closed Outsiders Bar at 650 S. Main St. early the morning of Oct. 13, 2013. Prosecutors say Battle shot the club up while Nealy drove him past after Battle was ejected for fighting.

Onley was a well-known disc jockey who went by DJ Mo and was known to organize anti-violence and anti-drug events.

During testimony on Thursday, the third day of testimony in the murder case, jurors saw crime scene and autopsy photos, and heard testimony that police found gunshot residue on the borrowed Mercedes-Benz allegedly used in the shooting.

Prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video shot at Walmart showing Nealy making a $229 jewelry purchase a few days before the shooting. The receipt from that purchase was later found on the floor of the borrowed car, according to prosecutors.

The prosecution closed out its case with testimony from Wilkes-Barre police Detective Shane Yelland, who presented cellphone records and maps showing that on the night of the shooting Battle’s and Nealy’s phones moved through the city consistently with witness accounts.

At the time of the shooting, both men’s phones were traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue past Outsiders, he said. The route was the same path taken by the vehicle from which muzzle flashes were caught on surveillance video, he said.

The defense challenged Yelland’s conclusions about the case, with Nealy’s attorney Thomas P. Sundmaker of Stroudsburg noting that a second unidentified car drove by immediately before the car police allege Battle and Nealy used to commit the drive-by.

Battle’s attorney Allyson Kacmarski of Kingston noted that the owner of the gun used in the shooting, Shakim “Killer” Varick, has a lengthy criminal history and is currently awaiting sentencing on a federal charge of possessing a stolen firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Varick claimed to have been in New York at the time Onley was shot, but Yelland admitted during questioning that police never confirmed that by using cellphone records — Varick’s girlfriend was the source of corroboration, he said.

Testimony continues this morning.

Contact the writer:

jhalpin@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2058

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