A Revere man who was working in a Roxbury cellphone store was shot without provocation two times, and would have been shot in the head if his alleged killer’s pistol did not jam when he pulled the trigger a third time, a prosecutor said in court today.
Joseph Morante, 19, was still alive after being shot and managed to run out of the store on Tremont Street in pursuit of his assailant, but collapsed on the sidewalk and later died, said Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Edmond J. Zabin, chief homicide prosecutor.
With more than 10 of Morante’s relatives looking on, Morante’s alleged killer was arraigned this morning on charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery. Elosko Brown, 27, was not brought into the courtroom at the request of both defense and prosecution.
Morante was working at the store on July 31 when Brown allegedly walked inside and loitered near a counter in the store for several minutes, Zabin said during the brief arraignment.
At that point, Zabin said, Brown shot Morante in the belly. Then he shot Morante in the torso. Brown then raised the gun, pointed it directly at Morante’s head, and pulled the trigger — but the gun did not fire, Zabin alleged.
“Without provocation, he shot the victim,’’ Zabin said in court. He said Morante “offered no resistance.”
At the time of his death, Morante had recently received his GED and was engaged to be married.
According to his fiancee, Morante trained at iWorld Accessories in East Boston before being transferred to the Roxbury store. He had been at that location for three weeks, and was scheduled to return to the East Boston location the following week.
Zabin said that Brown’s image was captured on surveillance videos and he was identified by people who knew him.
Brown was ordered held without bail after his defense attorney did not challenge a no-bail request from Zabin.
Brown has at least one prior drug conviction, according to court records, and was once stopped while carrying a revolver in his pocket — but he won a key legal victory that forced Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s office to drop the case, according to court records.
According to court records, State Police Trooper Mark Cohen pulled over a Brockton taxi for traffic violations on July 23, 2007, but soon turned his attention the two men riding in the back, one of whom was later identified as Brown.
Cohen chastised Brown and the second passenger for not wearing their seat belts while in the taxi, triggering a heated response that they were just riding in a taxi, according to court records. Cohen decided to cite the two men for not wearing seat belts, but when he patfrisked Brown, he discovered a revolver in his pants pocket, according to court records.
Brown was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm after being convicted of at least one drug offense, according to court records.
But Brown was never tried because the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled in 2009 that the trooper had no probable cause to search people riding in a taxi when the original reason for the stop was traffic violations by the cabbie.
“The dangers that police officers face in automobile stops like the one that occurred here should not be taken lightly,’’ Judge Fernande R.V. Duffly, who is now on the Supreme Judicial Court, wrote for the unanimous panel in 2009.
“Although in hindsight [Cohen’s] hunch proved to be correct, we view the reasonableness of the search and seizure from the vantage preceding the discovery of the [firearm], and on that basis the actions of the police here exceeded constitutional grounds,’’ Duffly wrote.
Shortly after being formally notified of the Appeals Court ruling, Cruz’s office ended the prosecution because they no longer had any evidence against Brown.