A Niagara County Court jury will hear the opening statements of prosecutors and defense attorneys later this morning in the trial of two suspects accused of robbing and gunning down a popular Niagara Falls merchant.

The jury of 12 men and women, along with six alternates, will then begin hearing testimony in the case against accused killers William McEnnis and William Coleman, both charged in the slaying of convenience store owner Ahmad “Poppy” Alsaid. The trial is expected to last at least three weeks.

Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman, in a return to the courtroom after a more than seven-year absence, will deliver the opening statement for the prosecution. 

It’s been more than two and a half years since “Poppy” was shot to death during a robbery at his Niagara Street convenience store. In addition to the Alsaid murder, Coleman and McEnnis are also being tried on charges that stem from two other violent robberies.

McEnnis, 36, of Keystone Avenue in Buffalo, and Coleman, 31, of Niagara Falls, are are each facing two counts of second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the slaying of Alsaid on Nov. 21, 2018.

The two men, were each on parole at the time of Alsaid’s murder, after serving 10 years in prison on charges related to a violent robbery in Buffalo. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been held without bail while awaiting trial.

Coleman and McEnnis are also accused of holding up a 7-Eleven on Buffalo Avenue in the Falls at gunpoint not long after the murder of Alsaid.

And the two parolees have also been charged in connection with the robbery of a Falls man on Ninth Street, 11 days before the Bridgeway Market homicide. In that case, prosecutors say, McEnnis and Coleman stole the man’s wallet and then shot him in the hip.

Police and prosecutors have released few details about the robbery-homicide. They have charged that McEnnis and Coleman entered Alsaid’s store and emptied the register before shooting the popular neighborhood merchant.

Alsaid was rushed to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, where he died from his wounds.

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