JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The right side of the courtroom at the Duval County Courthouse was full of tears Tuesday. That's where family members of Teneria McClendon sat during the first day of the trial for her suspected killer.
Sheatavia Cooper faces charges in relation to her death.
The State Attorney started off her opening statement by saying the night McClendon was shot in her neck, it immediately paralyzed the 16-year-old then killed her.
The shooting happened after an argument between McClendon and Cooper at Wawa on July 18, 2020, around midnight.
The defendant’s attorney says Cooper acted out of self-defense. He says what happened was a tragedy, but the facts are the facts.
The defense attorney says Cooper was intimated by Teneria and the group she was with. He also noted that Cooper legally possesses a gun.
"I submit to you that the evidence will show that Ms. Cooper was in fear. She was in fear the whole time," said Cooper's defense attorney.
The judge brought in 10 witnesses, some who were related to McClendon, showing them surveillance video of the night McClendon was shot.
Mother of McClendon, Sharonica Eady, repeated multiple times while she was on the witness stand that her daughter was just a teenager.
"I was trying to talk to her and trying to keep her up, and she was just going out and at that point I said, I can’t do it. She wasn’t verbally talking, but I’m like can you breathe, and she said no," said Eady who was in tears.
Another witness on the stand was McClendon's younger sister Tanaya Mcclendon, who was on the scene at the time of the shooting. She told attorneys that she doesn't remember what started the argument and that it never turned physical.
The prosecutors asked McClendon's little sister how she was feeling at that moment.
"Scared because the argument was kind of escalating," said McClendon's little sister.
An army national guard and witness in the trial, Joseph Klinedinst, is currently based out of Norfolk, Virginia and used to live in Jacksonville in 2020. He was employed as a Door Dasher part-time and was gathering an order at Wawa during the time of the shooting.
"I immediately pulled my pistol and at that time I ran outside first to verify my son was okay in the truck, and once I verified he was okay then I shouted out who fired the shot or who shot and at that point the defendant said I shot," said Klinedinst.
Klinedinst said he asked where the weapon was and Cooper said in the vehicle. He then asked Cooper to put her hands up and she did. Immediately afterward he helped to aid McClendon while she was on the ground.
Officer William Parker has body camera video that is also shown as evidence for this trial. In the body camera video you can hear Parker putting Cooper in handcuffs and asking her to sit in the police car.
Multiple times in the body camera footage Cooper says, "Please don't let this child die," said Cooper.
First Coast News asked the defense attorneys if they would like to comment on today's trial, and they said no comment.
Family did not want to speak on camera but wants McClendon to be remembered as an amazing girl and that they hope that justice is served.
The judge says the trial will resume tomorrow at 9 a.m.