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Testimony begins for federal trial in 2006 robberies and officer homicide

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WKTV) - The trial has officially started against three men allegedly involved in a series of robberies, one of which resulted in the death of New Hartford police Officer Joseph Corr.

Both sides gave their opening arguments in federal court in Syracuse Tuesday morning.

Officer Corr's parents, a sister, and an aunt were in federal court Tuesday morning, as were several officers from the New Hartford Police Department.

The federal trial is expected to take roughly three weeks, possibly even longer because of the fact that there are three defense attorneys handling the case, one for each defendant - Toussaint Davis, Marion Pegese, and Robert Ward. That made four attorneys, including the prosecutor, making opening arguments, making closing arguments, asking questions of witnesses, and cross-examining them.

Tuesday morning, the prosecution told the jury that some of the most crucial evidence in the case would be cell phone tower records which track the defendants' journey from Freehold, New Jersey to New Hartford, New York.

Defense attorneys are questioning the credibility of some government witnesses in the case, including one referred to by one of the defense attorneys as "the most mysterious man he's ever encountered" - witnesses that are career robbers and murderers cutting deals for reduced prison time in exchange for their testimony.

The trio of Ward, Pegese and Davis are being tried federally because they are accused of violating federal law, crossing state lines and committing the accused crimes. That means the government has to prove a conspiracy of both the robbery of Lennons W.B. Wilcox in New Hartford and Ballew Jewelers in Freehold, New Jersey.

The first witness to take the stand Tuesday was an employee of Ballew Jewelers. More witnesses were expected to testify throughout the afternoon.

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