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Testimony in Wyant Trial Centers on Supposed Jailhouse Confession

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Rochester: Testimony in Wyant Trial Centers on Supposed Jailhouse Confession
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The murder trial of a Brighton man continued Tuesday with testimony centering on a supposed jailhouse confession; one which defendant Max Wyant's lawyer is challenging the validity of.

It was a quick day of testimony at the Hall of Justice. Jurors heard from two Brighton police officers. They also heard from a frequent and former jail inmate who took an alleged confession from Wyant.

Tyrone Reed was an inmate at the Monroe County Jail last February. He told jurors he took a confession from Maxwell Wyant, writing it down on notebook paper from his cell.

Reed says Wyant told him he "freaked out" when CJ Schoen showed up at the Brighton home the two used to share; that he grabbed a shotgun and when Schoen told him he was going to call police, first firing a non-lethal shot, and then a second.

Reed claims Wyant told him, of that second shot, "I fired a lethal round with the intent to kill."

Wyant claimed that another roomate, Steven Hartman, who testified Monday, wanted Schoen dead more than he did.

Under cross-examination, Reed admitted he initially tried to use the information to extort $3,000 from Wyant.

"There's no value to this testimony. This is desperation by the prosecution," said James Nobles, defense attorney.

Wyant's lawyer points to Reed's own sordid past, which includes multiple arrests and a combined 29 misdemeanor and felony convictions.

"The majority of which pertain to lying, forging documents, writing bad checks, larcenies. Everything to put his own interests before the interests of society," Nobles said.

"I can't comment specifically on the evidence or the importance of it. All I can tell you is I believe we called him because we do believe he is important to the case," said Michael Harrigan, Assistant District Attorney.

Harrigan says it will be up to the jury to weigh Reed's credibility.

Earlier in the day, jurors heard from Raymond Lockhart, a Brighton Police officer who took Wyant by car to the police department for questioning. He says during the ride, Wyant asked, "How screwed am I?"

When told second degree murder was not a good charge to have, Lockhart says Wyant responded, "It was self defense. That kid literally thought he was God. I proved tonight he was not God."

Wyant has claimed self-defense all along, a point the prosecution disputes.

"We believe the evidence is going to show self defense did not apply here but ultimately, like I say, it's going to be a jury issue," Harrigan said.

Tyrone Reed will be back on the witness stand under defense cross-examination when testimony resumes Wednesday morning.

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