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Trial Underway For Gang Member Charged In SoBe Club Slaying

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The trial of a reputed Liberty City gang member got underway Tuesday for a South Beach nightclub shooting that left a 23-year-old man dead.

Nakavius Paul is charged with first-degree murder for the June 21, 2010 murder of Robert Jerome Edwards, 21, at the now-defunct Heathrow Lounge, which was located at 681 Washington Ave.

During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutor Jean-Michel D'Escoubet told jurors that two experts would testify that Paul's clothes had gunfire residue.

"You will find this defendant in the back of the bar," D'Escoubet said. "Also, he's the one who is able to fire the shot."

Defense attorney Theodore Mastos told the jury that state prosecutors would not be able to prove Paul had a weapon the night of the shooting.

"If it's not there, you must find him not guilty," Mastos told the jurors.

Police said Paul was a member of a violent street gang known as "Str8 Drop" which had gathered at the nightclub for a hip-hop party.

After getting into an argument with Paul, Edwards, also known as "Red Rob", was shot in the back at point-blank range, according to police.

Surveillance video from the night of the shooting showed Edwards walking into the club at 1:55 in the morning. An hour later, three men walk to the back of the bar, where seconds later, he was shot.

The gunfire also grazed Ruben Mitchell, who said it was pandemonium after the gunshots rang out. The surveillance video supported that claim and showed a stampede of people running out of the bar.

During the chaos, there was also a robbery at the bar. Police said the man who robbed the bar had to step over Edwards body to commit the robbery then step back over the body to leave the club.

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