Trial date set for Lexington teen accused of murdering his best friend

jkegley@herald-leader.comSeptember 17, 2010 

A trial date has been scheduled for a Lexington juvenile charged with murder in the shooting death of his best friend.

Jamar Mays, 17, also faces charges of tampering with physical evidence and being a minor in possession of a handgun. He was 16 when the shooting occurred at his home on Dorset Drive in November.

In July, Mays' attorney, public defender Tom Griffiths, told a judge within three weeks the defense would be ready to either resolve the case or schedule a trial date.

At a status hearing Friday, after several weeks continuance, Griffiths said the Department of Public Advocacy and the Commonwealth's Attorney's office had been unable to negotiate a plea agreement.

"Both sides were unable to reach a resolution," he said.

A jury trial was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 14-16, public defender Erica Roland said.

Mays and his friend, Ali Shalash, 17, were alone at the home when the shooting occurred, according to court records. Mays initially told officers a masked man had fired a gun through an open window, hitting Shalash in the head, but investigators couldn't find evidence of an outside shooter. Officers later found a handgun under the seat of a parked car and a bullet casing in a trash can on the property.

Mays faces 20 years to life in prison if he's convicted of murder.

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