Prosecutors and defense attorneys have begun picking the jury that will hear the state’s double murder case against Joseph Silva, who is accused of gunning down two people on Cowles Street two years ago.
Silva, 22, rejected a plea offer last year that would have required him to plead guilty to two counts of murder and accept a prison sentence of 58 years.
At trial, he faces two counts of murder, a charge of murder with special circumstances, altering a firearm identification number and illegal discharge of a firearm. If convicted, he faces life, plus 131 years, in prison.
According to the warrant for his arrest, on the evening of May 16, 2016, Silva walked up to Joshua Cortez and shot him in the head. Silva watched as Cortez crumpled to his knees, then fired as many as five more .40-caliber rounds into Cortez's head, according to the warrant.
"This is how Joseph Silva does it," a witness heard Silva proclaim as he fired, the warrant says.
Silva then walked over to a Honda Accord parked nearby and emptied his pistol into Alysha Ocasio, 23, of Newington, police say.
Cortez, 22, of Hartford, was pronounced dead at the scene. Ocasio, Cortez's girlfriend and the mother of his 2-year-old daughter, Kaiden, died later at Hartford Hospital.
The warrant for Silva's arrest does not offer any motive for the killings, although police described the shooting as the violent conclusion of an ongoing dispute between Silva and Cortez. It was not clear why Ocasio was shot.
Prosecutors Robin Krawczyk and Sharmese Hodge and defense attorney Angel Lugo began picking a jury this week. Twelve jurors will hear the case and four alternate jurors will also be seated. The case will be tried before Hartford Superior Court Judge David P. Gold.