CROWN POINT | The last words of a slain Lucky Mart Foods clerk were, "Jeremy, why are you doing this?" a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Judy Simpson-Beaver asked that question of Jeremy Blue, 22, who is on trial this week in her fatal shooting, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Persin said in his opening statements.
Blue, of Merrillville, is charged with murder, murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery in the crimes at the Merrillville convenience store March 4, 2012.
Blue entered the store at 1:04 p.m. that Sunday demanding money, Persin said.
Witnesses will testify they observed Blue running with two black cash registers spilling coins, Persin said.
Jurors will see video showing Blue bumping into a candy display before heading back to the counter to Simpson-Beaver, shooting the woman once in the right side of her chest and then, in a parting shot, in the face, Persin said.
"It was nothing short of a stone-cold execution," Persin said.
He said multiple witnesses came forward to identify Blue as the shooter, who was wearing a "Jason" mask and hoodie and driving what was found to be his mother's car.
Among the testimonies jurors will hear during the two-week trial are those of Edward Lee Perry and Donvell Edwards, who told authorities it was Blue who robbed the store and killed Simpson-Beaver, Persin said.
The men planned the robbery in Gary, where all three had snorted cocaine before Blue entered Lucky Mart Foods with a borrowed handgun, mask and zip-up hoodie, Persin said.
"I shot her," Blue is alleged to have later admitted to Perry and Edwards.
In response to Edwards' questioning why, Blue is alleged to have said, "She made me. She said, 'Jeremy, why are you doing this?'" Persin said.
Defense attorney Marc Laterzo questioned the motives of the two key witnesses and other witnesses, telling jurors the state had no physical evidence linking Blue to the crime.
Laterzo told jurors Perry, while serving a sentence for a separate robbery, at first denied any involvement. He had been considered a suspect in the case, Laterzo said.
Laterzo argued Perry later exchanged his testimony for immunity in the case.
Laterzo said prosecutors offered a plea deal to Edwards, who was convicted in 2007 of robbing the same store, in which he admitted only to robbery.
Edwards also had been charged with murder, murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery. Court records show Edwards entered into a plea agreement in July.
A hearing on Edwards' plea and sentencing is set for Nov. 22.