Lehigh Valley

Michael Randolph likely not facing security guard who fatally shot him, Gesslein jury told

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An unarmed rapper who had forced his way into an Allentown club last year was likely not facing the man who fatally shot him, a forensic pathologist told a jury Wednesday morning.

Dr. Rameen Starling-Roney, who did the autopsy on 23-year-old Michael "O Head" Randolph, was on the witness stand for about an hour in a Lehigh County courtroom on the third day of the homicide trial of Andrew Gesslein II.

Starling-Roney said that the paths of the three bullets that hit Randolph -- including the one that did the most damage -- showed Randolph could not have been facing Gesslein, who was working as a security guard at the North End Republican Club in Allentown the night of Randolph's death.

The jury saw two diagrams from Starling-Roney projected onto a screen showing where the gunshots hit Randolph. They also watched Starling-Roney and first assistant district attorney Steve Luksa re-enact ways the bullets could have travelled in Randolph's body.

Starling-Roney said it was more likely that when Randolph was shot last April 29, he had his back to Gesslein, who is claiming he acted in self-defense when he fired at Randolph after a struggle at the club door.

Starling-Roney said the most lethal gunshot -- which he classified as "rapidly fatal" -- entered Randolph's right shoulder and then hit a rib, his diaphragm, his right kidney, liver, heart, left lung and another rib before lodging in his left shoulder.

Randolph was also hit by shots in the upper portion of his right thigh and right lower abdomen, Starling-Roney said, adding that he classified those wounds as "contributing to blood loss."

Starling-Roney said he ruled the death a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds.

The jury also heard from Allentown Detective Andrew Hackman, who explained how he gathered evidence after the shooting, including collecting Randolph's clothing at the hospital and 14 Winchester .45 caliber bullets and two Colt magazines from Gesslein at police headquarters.

Hackman said Gesslein was arrested on June 7, after interviewing 25 to 30 of the 90 people in the club on the night the shooting occurred.

Under cross-examination from defense attorney James Connell, Hackman admitted that Gesslein cooperated with his investigation from the outset.

The trial is expected to continue Wednesday afternoon.

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