DES MOINES, Iowa — The First Degree murder trial of Bravon Tukes got underway on Wednesday with opening arguments. He’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, willful injury, and criminal gang participation.  

Police say Tukes drove the getaway car following a deadly shooting at the Starts Right Here education center back in January. Gionni Dameron, 18, and Rashad Carr, 16, were killed in the shooting, and Starts Right Here founder Will Keeps was injured.

In the opening statements, the prosecution and defense described Tukes in very different lights.  The prosecution noted how many texts and phone calls were exchanged between Tukes, and now convicted shooter, Preston Walls.

“He runs back-and-forth fire and all the shots, 30 in total, and then runs out the back door,” said Stephanie Cox, of the Polk County Attorney’s Office. “He runs past Principal Park over the bridge to Mullets about a half a mile away and that’s where his friend Bravon Tukes, he called his brother, is waiting to pick him up.”

The prosecution explained how phone calls and text messages sent before the shooting shows the incident was planned.

On the other side, the defense attorneys described a young man who lost his father at an early age, and lost two brothers in separate incidents in 2022.  One brother was shot by Des Moines Police last December. Defense attorney tried to put the jury in Tukes’ shoes regarding losing two of his brothers so close together.

“What does one do in that situation?” said Defense Attorney Jamie Deremiah. “Who knows? I don’t know. I don’t know how to deal with that. What does Bravon do for his part, reaches out to his friend Preston in private messages saying some weird stuff, talks about killing a cop, they did not kill any cops.”

The prosecution also played police body cam footage from outside and inside the school after the shooting.