Almost a year after the initial trial concluded in a mistrial, Maliek Rasheid-Rodney Hargrave finds himself once again amid legal proceedings, facing a second jury trial for the alleged murder of 18-year-old Jason Whetstone in Kalamazoo.
The charges against Hargrave include open murder and felony firearms related to the tragic incident that occurred on October 2, 2021, in the 100 block of East Maple Street.
Commencing on the morning of Tuesday, January 10, the trial unfolded with opening statements and testimonies featuring accounts from both the victim’s mother, Lakisha Whetstone, and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer Michael Ostrander.
Ostrander, who was patrolling the area in the early hours, responded to the sound of a gunshot, discovering Jason Whetstone with a gunshot wound to the neck.
Efforts to save the young man’s life were initiated, with Officer Ostrander applying pressure to the wound.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Ann Berdan introduced an element of territorial conflict, suggesting that the crime occurred in an area claimed by the Belmont Street gang.
She hinted at potential gang involvement, explaining that Jason had unintentionally ventured into a neighborhood with high tensions.
However, Lakisha Whetstone vehemently denied any association of her son with gang activities, asserting that he had unknowingly found himself in the wrong place.
Represented by Kalamazoo Defender, Hargrave appeared in court wearing a suit, his hair pulled back and tied. During the proceedings, he courteously greeted the court and the jury.
Meanwhile, Lakisha Whetstone, testifying as a witness, expressed her unfamiliarity with Hargrave, emphasizing that her son had never mentioned him before the tragic incident.