Co-defendant implicates Clarke at package store murder trial

Two young men who were once “like brothers” are now on opposite sides at the trial involving the 2007 shooting death of package store owner Jared Silva.

Cosmo Frieson is testifying today at the trial of Gary Clarke, who is accused of shooting Silva during the course of a robbery outside Jared’s Packy on Ocean Avenue in New London.

Frieson, 22, is implicating Clarke, 24, under an agreement with State’s Attorney Michael L. Regan in which Frieson, who admits taking part in the attempted robbery of Silva, would serve only up to 20 years in prison. Clarke, charged with felony murder, murder and attempted robbery, has pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial.

Taking the witness stand this morning in his neon orange jumpsuit, Frieson rocked back and forth in his seat and spoke softly as he answered a series of questions about the crime. He said Clarke, who had a child with Frieson’s sister, planned the robbery because the sister was about to lose her apartment. Frieson said that he and Clarke met up at the convenience store at Bank Street and Ocean Avenue and planned to rob a convenience store further down Ocean Avenue, but that they decided to rob Jared’s instead, since it was too cold to walk further.

Frieson said he provided Clarke with a gun that he had stolen from a car, and that Clarke approached Silva with the gun as Silva walked out of the store.

“He told him, ‘Don’t move,’ ’’ Frieson testified. “Jared turned around and started fighting.”

Frieson said it looked “like the gun was coming up to Gary,” so he ran up and punched Silva. He said Silva fell on his back and he ran.

“I heard a gunshot,” he said.

He and Gary met up a few houses away and Clarke realized he had dropped his cell phone, Frieson said. Clarke gave Frieson the gun and his jacket and went back to retrieve the phone, he said. In crime scene photos viewed by the jury last week, a cell phone was lying on the ground, in a pool of blood, between Silva’s arm and torso.

Frieson said he took the gun to the house of Tyshaun Smith, who lived a few doors down from the package store, and hid it in a couch. Later, he met up with Clarke at Clarke’s apartment across town.

“I asked him why he shot Jared,” Frieson testified. “He said he was nervous.”

Defense attorney Jeremiah Donovan was attempting to discredit Frieson through cross-examination when the trial ended for the day. Judge Arthur C. Hadden dismissed the jury after one of them had a car problem. Donovan asserts that Frieson and Smith carried out the robbery and shooting. The trial resumes tomorrow.


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