Man charged in bar slaying ordered to stand trial

Posted: December 14, 2011

The prosecutor described the Genesis Bar in Nicetown as one of those friendly neighborhood tappies where - literally - "everyone knows your name."

And that, Genesis regulars testified Tuesday, was what made Wayne James stand out: No one remembered seeing him before.

What they did remember, witnesses told a Philadelphia judge, was that James refused to stop smoking, blew smoke in a bouncer's face, and came back with a gun after being ejected.

"I was in shock," said bouncer Curtis Aiken. "I never thought this guy was coming back."

Municipal Judge Kenneth J. Powell Jr. ordered James to face trial on murder, attempted murder, and related charges in the early-morning shooting June 26 at the bar on Wayne Avenue near Roberts Avenue.

James, 45, was arrested three days after the shootings based on eyewitness identification of the shooter's face captured on the bar's surveillance video.

Several people wounded in the shootout were called as witnesses by Assistant District Attorney Brendan O'Malley during the preliminary hearing. They identified James as the patron ejected for smoking. James returned moments later, witnesses testified, and began firing through the front door of the reggae bar.

Carl Sharper, 43, of Germantown, a Water Department employee who was drinking beer with his cousin, was hit once in the head and died on the scene. Five others were wounded.

Aiken, a Genesis employee for nine years, said he was working outside the front door that night, checking IDs.

About 12:45 a.m., Aiken testified, he saw fellow bouncer Kevin Brown with James in a "full nelson," walking James out the front door.

Aiken said James drove away but returned moments later on foot, fired three shots through the bar's front door, and then extended his gun arm inside and continued shooting.

Aiken said he hid behind a trash container and then ran across the street, where he watched James run away.

Jerrell Johnson, 33, a Cheltenham Township volunteer firefighter and paramedic, described the chaos inside the bar as the shooting started.

Johnson, who was shot in the back, a shoulder, and a leg - and remains unable to work - said he was near the door when the shooting began.

"I just started shouting for everyone to get down," Johnson testified. As he tried to move toward the rear of the bar, Johnson said he felt the first shot hit him in the back.

Johnson testified that James, whom he had never before seen at Genesis, had been told to stop smoking by a bouncer. Instead, Johnson said, James blew smoke in the bouncer's face.


Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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