"He shot the wrong house:" Trial begins for Darmequaye Cohill, charged in shooting death of Bill Thao

MILWAUKEE -- Nearly one year ago, 13-month-old Bill Thao was shot and killed. The shooting happened near 73rd and Mill on December 27th, 2014. On Monday, November 30th, a jury trial began for the man accused in the baby boy's death.

Bill Thao was in the living room of the home near 73rd and Mill -- playing with toys, when he was shot. He died at Children's Hospital.

Bill Thao

22-year-old Darmequaye Cohill faces the following criminal charges: first-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon -- and first-degree reckless endangering safety.

But his lawyers say he's innocent.

Darmequaye Cohill

The complaint against Cohill indicates officers recovered eleven 9mm casings, seven .380 caliber casings and 23 .40 caliber casings at the location of the Thao shooting.

Investigators learned after talking with witnesses that Cohill also goes by the name "Black" -- and is someone who sold heroin on the street.

The complaint indicates Cohill reached out to a person who regularly bought heroin from him. Cohill told this person someone had "stolen his phone" and he didn't want that number being used anymore. The person to which Cohill was talking indicated he just bought heroin (on December 26th) from "Black's cousin." Cohill didn't know who that was -- and suspected it might be the person who stole his phone.

The complaint goes on to say, Cohill wanted his contact to call the person identified as "Black's cousin" one more time -- and set up another heroin buy later in the day. Cohill apparently told the person "he wanted to 'jump out on' the person who had taken his phone. So according to the complaint, another buy was set up near 73rd and Mill and Cohill followed behind.

When the transaction was happening later on December 26th, the complaint says a black vehicle was seen approaching and gunshots were heard coming from the vehicle.

The next day, December 27th, the person who in the complaint is identified as "Black's cousin" was looking out his front window and "observed a vehicle park" nearby.

Investigators learned from this person that he saw "four individuals exit the vehicle and reach the intersection of N. 73rd St. and W. Brentwood Ave. He recognized one of these individuals to be 'Mequaye' (or Cohill)."

Cohill then apparently walked directly to the street in front of a duplex at 73rd and Mill, "raised his armed, and fired a handgun...several times." Two other individuals with Cohill were also seen firing shots at the home.

Memorial set up in honor of Bill Thao

Darmequaye Cohill

Cohill came to court Monday dressed in a suit and tie. Despite his conforming appearance, the prosecutor said Cohill was a heroin dealer who was trying to protect his turf on December 27th, 2014.

"Unfortunately, he shot the wrong house -- a house that baby Bill was playing in on that day of December 27th. That means he's guilty of reckless homicide," Antoni Apollo, prosecutor said.

Cohill's lawyer argued he's innocent in the shooting involving Bill Thao, and another shooting nearby the day before.

"There will be no evidence for you that Mr. Cohill fired a gun on the 26th either," Craig Powell, Cohill's lawyer said.

Christopher Shephard

Taking the stand to testify on Monday was Christopher Shephard -- a man who says Cohill was his long-time heroin dealer.

On December 26th -- one day before Bill Thao was shot, another dealer sold Shephard his heroin after taking Cohill's phone. He arranged another buy, and when the competing dealer came out, there was gunfire.

"The car came down the road and bullets started flying," Shephard said.

Shephard ducked and fled.

Afterwards, he testified that Cohill told him "my bad," and gave him more drugs.

Testimony continues on Tuesday.

73rd and Mill shooting