A jury deliberated for about 30 minutes Friday before finding a West Allis man guilty in the murder of Bernard Reavers of Kenosha.
Michael Cina was found guilty on all three counts against him: first-degree intentional homicide, burglary while armed and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Cina, 41, was accused of shooting Reavers, a 39-year-old father of three, after he reportedly interrupted a robbery on Aug. 21, 2016, in a house at 6727 24th Ave. Reavers was in the apartment of his upstairs neighbor to loan her a vacuum cleaner when Cina came in the dwelling.
Cina was there to rob the woman because she reportedly sold marijuana, prosecutors said. When Reavers went into the kitchen to investigate a noise, Cina reportedly shot him then fled.
Cina’s trial began Monday and wrapped up Friday, with the jury returning at about 4 p.m.
Cina is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 25.
Cina’s wife Angela, who testified for the prosecution in her husband’s trial, admitted she had asked police during an interview to apologize to the family of victim Bernard Reavers on her behalf.
A prosecutor asked her if she thought her husband killed Reavers.
“Yes,” she answered.
The prosecutor asked if that’s why she asked the detective to apologize to the Reavers family.
“Yes. Because of the children,” she answered.
“When kids are involved, it’s a different ballgame,” Angela Cina said during questioning. “There’s now four kids who won’t have a father, including mine.”
Catching a glimpse
According to testimony at the trial, Reavers’ neighbor said she only caught a glimpse of the shooter as he fled down her stairs and across her yard. She described him as a stocky white man with pale eyes.
Another neighbor, alerted by the gunfire and the woman’s screaming, saw the man fleeing, his head covered by a hood, and then saw him leaving the area in a distinctly colored teal Ford Focus with Wisconsin license plates.
Investigators found video from several security cameras showing the Ford leaving the area, then traveling through quiet side streets to Sheridan Road.
That Ford Focus and a single glove left behind in the bloody kitchen where Reavers fell after being shot led police after months of investigation to Cina, who was arrested in January 2017.
In testimony during trial, a police detective said the investigation revealed that Ford only produced the Focus in that teal color in 2007. Investigators checked every teal 2007 Focus registered in Wisconsin and found one that was regularly driven by Cina.
The single glove, bright green and emblazoned with the word “Irish,” had a match for Cina’s DNA both on the inside and outside of the glove. There was testimony that a friend of Cina’s left a pair of green “Irish” gloves at Cina’s house.
A pair of shoes found in Cina’s home in West Allis have a tread that matches bloody footprints found on the deck outside the door of the apartment where Reavers was shot.
‘I screwed up’
As police investigated the homicide, they served a warrant in January 2017 on a Somers home occupied by two of Cina’s close friends. Both men told investigators that after the shooting Cina had come to their home and told them he had shot someone and that he thought he had killed him.
Angela Cina told police that after the shooting her husband showed her news articles about the shooting and Reavers’ death days later, telling her, “I screwed up.”
A search of Angela Cina’s phone by police — she said her husband used her phone for web searches because it was faster — showed that someone had repeatedly searched for news articles about the homicide in the days afterward.
Many of those stories featured a photograph released by police of the teal Ford Focus. After the shooting, Angela Cina said, her husband no longer drove the Ford when he went to Kenosha, saying it was “hot.”
Defense attorney Daniel Mitchell attempted to cast doubt on the testimony of Cina’s friends, who were given immunity from prosecution for the homicide.
They were also not prosecuted for cocaine and prescription drugs found in their home, or for having guns in the house despite a past felony conviction.
Although the 9mm handgun used in the homicide was never found, a box for a handgun of the type believed to have been used in the shooting was found in the friends’ home.
Mitchell repeatedly questioned investigators about whether or not they had looked into the possibility that one or both of those men had committed the homicide.
“Did the (police department) make any effort to determine where they were on Aug. 21?” Mitchell asked Detective Josh Zeller.
“They both said they were at the residence,” Zeller said.
He said police checked phone records for both men, and the phones did not show they had been in the area of the apartment where Reavers was shot.
Friends, wife fearful
Mitchell also questioned the friends and Angela Cina about their motives in waiting until they were confronted by police in January to say that Cina had told them he was involved in the shooting.
In his questioning, Mitchell alleged the men came up with the story about Cina’s confession to protect themselves from prosecution.
The friends said they were afraid of retribution.
“When in the 149 days (between the shooting and when he was questioned by police) did you go to the police and say, ‘This is the guy that shot Bernard Reavers?’” Mitchell asked Cina’s friend Marcos DeJesus. “This is a man you said is scary, that could have killed you, could have killed your family.” Why not go to the police right away, Mitchell asked.
“Yeah, if I go to the police, I know how it goes,” DeJesus answered.
Then why tell police his story after the raid of his Somers house, Mitchell asked.
“Yeah, but (now) he’s also incarcerated, so I don’t have to worry about it.”
Angela Cina also said she did not go to police because she was afraid.
“I was mentally and emotionally abused. He told me that he would kill me every single day for over a year, so I was scared,” she said.
After she made that statement on the stand, Angela Cina looked directly at her husband sitting at the defense table and nodded her head.
“Yeah, you did,” she said.