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Trial begins for men accused of killing Army Reservist | News

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Trial begins for men accused of killing Army Reservist

ATLANTA -- Two suspects accused of gunning down an Army Reservist the day after Christmas will go on trial this week.

Zion Wainwright, 15, and Qutravius Palmer, 24, have been charged with murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in the Dec. 26, 2013 shooting death of 21-year-old Xavier Arnold.

Prosecutors said Arnold, his girlfriend and their friend Ibrahim Sanusi were walking along a bike trail near Rogers Street in Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood. Arnold, a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, was taking pictures of some graffiti when he noticed two men following him.

One of the suspects pulled out a gun and demanded the victims' belongings. Arnold struggled with the suspects and was shot in the back of the head. Sanusi was shot in the leg. A neighbor heard the gunshots and called 911. Arnold was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

After shooting Arnold and Sanusi, the suspects ran into the nearby woods. They were identified through a photographic lineup and eventually turned themselves in to police.

Investigators said Wainwright was only 14 years old when he shot and killed Arnold. He was charged as an adult under Georgia's Juvenile Justice Reform Act, which gives a superior court jurisdiction over the trials of defendants as young as 13 who are accused of committing one or more of the "seven deadly sins" -- murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and voluntary manslaughter.

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The case is being tried in DeKalb County Superior Court. Jury selection took place Monday and opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday morning.