Trial begins in murder of Bucks County musician Danny DeGennaro

Danny DeGennaro

May 14, 2013 3:26:34 PM PDT
Prosecutors say a musician shot and killed in his Philadelphia-area home three days after Christmas in 2011 was targeted because he sold marijuana.

Testimony got underway Tuesday in the trial for one of five people charged in the murder of 56-year-old Danny DeGennaro of Levittown.

Prosecutors say 20-year-old defendant Jermaine Jackson of Trenton didn't actually pull the trigger.

But they say he was the mastermind behind what started as a drug deal and ended with DeGennaro's murder.

Bucks County Assistant D.A. Matt Weintraub said his challenge is proving Jackson intended to murder DeGennaro.

"So far we think it's going as well as can be expected. I'm pleased with the progress we've made at trial," said Weintraub.

DeGennaro was a popular local musician who played with Bo Diddley and Billy Squier, among others.

But he was perhaps best known for holding small concerts to raise money for local causes.

A Facebook page entitled "Levittown Vows Justice" has been created in DeGennaro's honor.

The people behind that page say the point is not to intimidate anyone but, "to let that same element of life that believes they can come to Levittown and commit atrocious crimes know we will get you."

Ed Mero is a DeGennaro family friend.

"It hits you in the heart, because this is somebody you grew up with, and you took your children out to see him," said Mero.

But the defendant's father told Action News the prosecution has it all wrong.

"My son is innocent," said Michael Jackson.

Jackson said his son may have been involved in some kind of drug deal with the victim, but he is not a murderer.

"I don't know anything about the other defendants," said Jackson. "I'm not here to place any guilt or whatever. It's just that my son is innocent."

Even Jackson's defense attorney admits his client is no choir boy. But he adds that the murder charge is baseless.

"At the time of the killing, the evidence will show he left the home and was already on his way back to Trenton," said Craig Penglase.