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Trial to begin for 2 men charged in soldier killing

Jury selected, opening statements begin today

Sep. 17, 2013 - 10:44AM   |  
Rakeem Rashan Jones, 18, is led into court Monday by his attorney, Chase Smith. Jones and Giovanne Treymane Johnson, 19, are both charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in connection with the April 2012 shooting death of Spc. Taylor Hotzoglou.
Rakeem Rashan Jones, 18, is led into court Monday by his attorney, Chase Smith. Jones and Giovanne Treymane Johnson, 19, are both charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in connection with the April 2012 shooting death of Spc. Taylor Hotzoglou. (Greg Williamson / The Leaf-Chronicle)
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The homicide trial of two men accused of robbing and killing a Fort Campbell soldier began Monday morning in Judge John H. Gasaway’s court with jury selection.

Giovanne Treymane Johnson, 19, and Rakeem Rashan Jones, 18, are both charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in connection with the shooting death of Spc. Taylor Hotzoglou.

Hotzoglou, 22, was shot multiple times on April 28, 2012, after giving the two teenagers a ride. Hotzoglou was found by a passerby dead in his car on the shoulder of Victory Road.

A pool of 60 Montgomery County jurors were brought into Gasaway’s courtroom for a questioning process called voir dire Monday morning. A jury was selected at about 4 p.m.

Following a bench conference, it was decided the trial would begin Tuesday morning, with opening statements.

The state, represented by Robert Nash, assistant district attorney, will then begin calling witnesses to testify.

An estimated 20 witnesses will testify during the trial, including law enforcement agents, medical experts, forensic experts and citizens who know the defendants.

The case is expected to take between three and four days to present to the jury, Nash said.

Johnson’s attorney is Chris Clark, and Jones’ attorney is Chase Smith.

Earlier theory

According to a previous article, Hotzoglou's roommate testified at a preliminary hearing that the two teens showed up at their apartment late at night asking for a ride to a store on Peachers Mill Road. Hotzoglou took a gun as protection that night.

At 12:36 a.m. on April 29, Clarksville Police responded to a vehicle that had run off Victory Road.

When police officers and EMS workers arrived, they found Hotzoglou dead from several gunshot wounds. It is believed Hotzoglou was robbed and shot six times.

A Walther PPK .380 pistol that was in Hotzoglou's possession was missing from the crime scene, Detective Michael Ulrey, lead investigator, wrote in the petition.

When police arrested Jones, they found the gun in his possession, the petition said.

Witnesses said Jones gave them details about the crime that only someone involved would know.

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