COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Opening statements took place Thursday in the trial of Thomas Slivienski, the man accused of killing a 17-year-old on the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway in Cohoes last November.
Thomas Slivienski, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Johni Dunia, watched intently as both the prosecution and the defense lawyers spoke.
The prosecution claims that Dunia and his friends went to hang out and smoke weed the night of the murder. Thinking that Dunia was texting a drug dealer, he went to meet at the bike path. The prosecution says it was there he met Slivienski, who shot him three times.
They say the motive was revenge after Dunia and his friends previously allegedly stole drugs from Slivienski and that the murder was planned out.
“He picked the victim he wanted. He picked the location he wanted. He waited for Johnny. And he did everything he could think of to avoid getting caught,” the prosecution said Thursday.
The defense, however, says the prosecution’s claims about motive are not true, because Dunia and his friends did not meet at the bike path to hang out, but rather met to rob a drug dealer.
The defense also said the police should have focused on the other friends Dunia was with that night instead of Slivienski.
“We are here today because of tunnel vision. Because the police focused with tunnel vision on Tommy,” the defense said. “They didn’t explore leads that made sense. They didn’t explore other leads that were available to them.”