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Wife of man killed while trying to stop a carjacking testifies in suspect's trial

Testimony continued Thursday in Orleans Parish Criminal Court in the second-degree murder trial of Kendall Harrison, who is charged with shooting and killing a man who tried to stop a carjacking in the Algiers Point neighborhood.

The fatal shooting of 44-year-old Harry “Mike” Ainsworth happened in January 2012 moments after Ainsworth walked his 9- and 10-year-old sons to the bus stop. Police said he was shot when he jumped on the hood of a vehicle that had just been carjacked from a woman on Vallette Street.

Ainsworth's widow, Cheryl Connor, took the stand and talked about the emotional roller coaster she experienced when told that her husband had been shot not far from their home.

“Panic...I ran out the door in my pajamas," she said. "I ran down the street in total disbelief, I just kept screaming 'where are my children, where are my children?'”

The boys were unharmed, as was the carjack victim.

Defense Attorney Lon Burns said jurors will be taken to the scene on Friday.

"As the wife pointed out, the widow of Mr. Ainsworth, that neighborhood is filled with crime cameras," Burns said. "You didn't hear the detective testify about anything that she went to anyone's house, or she asked someone to climb up on a pole and get the crime cameras. I want the jurors to be able to see that in this nice neighborhood in Algiers there are crime cameras, there are many people who saw what happened and there should have been many people here identifying Kendall Harrison as the murderer of Mike Ainsworth, instead you have no really good identifications, all you have is one little fingerprint and I don't think one little fingerprint is worth this young man's life.”

Jurors were shown a videotaped interrogation of Harrison during which two NOPD detectives told him they had DNA evidence proving he was inside the carjacked vehicle. But Harrison did not confess to the crime and asked to speak to an attorney, the video showed.

“At the time of his arrest, he was 17 years old, so these detectives went above and beyond trying to coerce him, trying to get him to say, 'hey, it was me.' They told him 50 times, 50 different ways that they had his DNA. I think the young man did a commendable job because the DNA that they do have is one fingerprint referred to as touch DNA that came from the steering wheel of the victim's vehicle,” said Burns.

The trial continues Friday.

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