Lehigh Valley

Andrew Gesslein on trial in killing of Michael Randolph in Allentown

Andrew Gesslein trial begins


The trial for a security guard charged with shooting and killing an Allentown aspiring rapper started Tuesday.

The incident happened last April 29th in the North End Republican Club at Eighth and Tilghman streets

Seven witnesses were called to the stand and the defendant, Andrew Gesslein, also testified.

A taped police interview taken hours after Gesslein allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Michael Randolph was shown to the jury.

In it the North End Republican Club security guard and Berks County native told police he feared for his life and thought Michael Randolph was pulling a gun, as reasons for shooting Randolph inside the members-only club back in the early morning hours of April 29th, 2012.

"I really think he was wrong. I can't bring Michael back," Randolph's mother Michelle Randolph said.

Witnesses testified they saw and heard Randolph and several of his friends arguing with Gesslein to get inside the club. One woman told the jury she even heard threats coming from Randolph's crew.

But another man, said after a short scuffle, Gesslein drew his gun and fired three times while Randolph and the rest were running away.

The jury also saw security video taken that night. In it Randolph can be seen being very agitated and slamming the club's door.

The video also shows the men getting inside but then quickly retreating, with Gesslein seen clearly pointing a gun.

But it was the sight of Randolph, an aspiring rapper, lying on the ground dying, that drew sobs within the courtroom.

"Michael was a very good-hearted person. You can't judge someone because they liked to go to a bar. I know he preformed there, he liked going there," Michelle Randolph added.

She said, at the time of his death, Michael had a two-week-old baby girl.

The trial resumes Wednesday.

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