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Testimony begins in Geneva shooting trial

“Michael Cosentino was shot in cold blood and left for dead.”

Those were the words of Jason MacBride, Ontario County’s first assistant district attorney, during opening statements Tuesday in the attempted murder trial of a Geneva man.

MacBride said there is “overwhelming evidence” that Erin Rhynes shot Cosentino three times in the back of the head during the early-morning hours of April 1, 2018, in Cosentino’s pickup truck on Lewis Street. Cosentino survived despite doctors giving him just a 10-percent chance to live.

In his opening statement, MacBride said Cosentino identified “E” — which police said is Rhynes’ street name — as the shooter. Police also identified Rhynes as one of two people who jumped out of Cosentino’s truck after the shooting.

MacBride added that police later found the gun allegedly used in the shooting, a .25-caliber pistol, in the apartment of Rhynes’ friend, Timetheus Merritt. MacBride said Rhynes’ DNA was found on the gun.

MacBride said Rhynes, while being questioned by Geneva police, admitted being in Cosentino’s truck at the time of the shooting. According to MacBride, Rhynes later told a fellow inmate at the county jail that he shot Cosentino and demonstrated how he shot him.

MacBride said the demonstration was caught on a surveillance camera at the jail.

MacBride said Cosentino still has two bullets in his head from the shooting, while another grazed his head. Cosentino spent two months in a hospital after the shooting and still requires around-the-clock care.

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